Tesco, Asda and Lidl’s soya in the meat and dairy supply chains have been linked to “hidden” illegal deforestation in Amazon, Unearthed has revealed.
According to Greenpeace’s investigative journalism branch – Unearthed, illegally farmed soya is “regularly shipped” to the UK and other European countries for livestock feed on factory farms.
The Amazon Soya Moratorium agreed upon in 2006 bans the sale of soya grown on Amazon land deforested after July 2008.
However, the agreement doesn’t extend to beef and other crops allowing farmers to sell “deforestation-free” soya while destroying rainforest for other commodities.
As a result, soya farming has continued to expand in previously cleared fields as freshly deforested farmland is “legally” allocated to other crops.
“This is deforestation by the back door. By continuing to sell factory farmed meat and dairy, UK supermarkets are complicit in driving destruction of the Amazon as well as other climate-critical ecosystems across Brazil,” Greenpeace UK Senior Forest Campaigner Paul Morozzo said.
The loophole has been uncovered in Mato Grasso state, which grows more soya than anywhere in Brazil and ships to UK supermarkets.
According to Brazilian NGO Instituto Centro de Vida (ICV) data, the vast majority of this deforestation was illegal, lacking licenses under Brazil’s Forest Code.
In 2020, the UK imported over 140,000 tonnes of soya from farms with at least 7 sq km of “hidden deforestation” on soya farms.
Morozzo added: “Supermarkets cannot ignore the role of meat and dairy in the climate crisis. It’s time they took real action to end links to deforestation for good.”
“That means dropping forest destroyers and reducing meat and dairy. Until they do, they may as well be handing out matches to light this years’ Amazon fires.”
Grocery Gazette has contacted Asda, Lidl & Tesco for comment.