UK - UK retailers M&S and Waitrose have been named as front-runners in responsible soy use, according to WWF’s Soy Scorecard.
The firms are among 16 European leaders in soy sustainability listed in the Scorecard, released in advance of the 11th annual conference of the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) which takes place in Brazil this week.
However, WWF said many other companies do not acknowledge their use of soy and have done little to address the impact that irresponsible soy production can have on people and nature in vulnerable landscapes.
The Soy Scorecard assesses 133 leading European retailers, food service companies, consumer goods manufacturers, dairy companies, meat, egg and feed companies.
Criteria measured included transparency on total soy use, use of responsibly produced soy and efforts to remove deforestation from soy supply chains. The companies are based in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Overall, Dutch and Swedish firms performed most strongly against the criteria.
Dr Emma Keller, Agricultural Commodities Manager, WWF-UK said: “Because of its widespread use as an animal feed, soy is a hidden ingredient in products including meat, farmed fish, dairy products like milk and cheese, and eggs.
“We want consumers to be able to make informed choices about the impact of the food they buy. The Soy Scorecard helps show which supermarkets and brands are taking this issue seriously those who aren’t. Many retailers are leading the way, but it’s time to see the food service and animal feed sectors step up, as they are missing a trick in a world that now demands ethical behaviour and transparency from companies.”
WWF calls on all companies in the soy supply chain to be transparent about their use of soy, source responsible soy that is produced by RTRS and ProTerra, and to join forces with others to stop deforestation and conversion of natural habitats in soy supply chains.
WWF’s Sandra Mulder, Senior Advisor Market Change said: “WWF is pleased to see some real frontrunners especially in the retail and dairy sectors. But it is clear that many companies take advantage of the lack of consumer awareness about soy in order to do nothing on this issue. 69 companies decided not respond to our call for transparency - this is more than half of the 133 companies approached by WWF.
“Many Europeans still don’t know that they eat on average 61 kilos of soy per year, mostly embedded in their meat and dairy products, and what impact this has on the ecosystems of South America.”
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