Tesco joins UK industry leaders to cut deforestation

Tesco has joined industry leaders in a commitment to cut deforestation and conversion-linked soy from supply chains by 2025 under the UK Soy Manifesto.  

The signatories to the manifesto also include Nestle, KFC, McDonald’s, Nando’s and Morrisons.     

According to Tesco, the 27 parties collectively account for 60 per cent of all UK soy purchased each year. 

The manifesto requires all participants to agree to five goals, including no soy arriving in the UK after January 2020 which has been responsible for habitats being cleared for agricultural purposes.  

The signatories will also ask their supplies to conform to the commitment, writing the manifesto clauses into their contracts to ensure targets are met and providing public updates of their progress. 

READ MORE: £24bn Tesco pension scheme to hit net zero by 2050

Companies will additionally support improved transparency and reporting to guarantee that soy entering the UK meets the standards in the manifesto.  

The move comes following reports that 23 per cent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions come as a result of agricultural development, most of which are due to deforestation.  

The UK-wide consumption of soil has resulted in an estimated 3081 hectares of deforestation. 

The collaboration builds on similar initiatives such as the French Soy Manifesto, and joins commitments announced at COP26 under the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, alongside the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Dialogue (FACT) Join Statement and Roadmap for Action.  

“The conversion of forests and other ecosystems for agricultural production, including the production of soy, is a major contributor to climate change [and] biodiversity loss,” Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy said. 

“Soy is the single most impactful forest-risk commodity in Tesco’s supply chain. 

“We’ve made a commitment that by 2025 we will only source soy from whole areas verified as deforestation-free.” 

A representative for the government added: “The UK government welcomes the leadership role UK companies are taking to drive the transition to deforestation-free soy supply chains through the UK Soy Manifesto. 

“Initiatives like the manifesto can complement government efforts to meeting our climate and environment objectives.”  

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