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The Consumer Goods Forum (in collaboration with TRASE, Proforest and participating companies) is pleased to announce the launch of the Soy Buyers Coalition (SBC). The SBC is an inclusive project which aims to bridge the gap between soy buyers and on-the-ground producers, with a view to finding new ways to tackle deforestation linked to soy production. The Coalition is comprised of downstream users of soy (including retailers, animal feed manufacturers, and FMCG manufacturers), and aspires to work closely with soy producers, traders, local governments, investors, NGOs and more.

As 2020 approaches, companies committed to eliminating deforestation from their business operations by this deadline are looking for solutions to accelerate the implementation of the commitments in their supply chains. The SBC was created with the conviction that that changes in deforestation trends need to be driven by local actors, including government, local companies, civil society and producers. While consumer goods companies should support and promote these changes on the ground, their individual use of soy represents a relatively small part of the production and the complexities of the soy supply chain further reduce the influence each individual company has over the choices of these local actors. Because of this, companies currently struggle to ensure physical supply of sustainable soy in their own supply chains.

Understanding the need to channel collective efforts within the industry and beyond to overcome these difficulties, the coalition aims to address sustainability challenges and identify opportunities for companies to implement zero net deforestation commitments (at a minimum), by building on relevant, credible initiatives that implement on-the-ground projects in key soy producing regions in Brazil. The initiative will test new ways of collaborating pre-competitively in a tangible project that can eventually provide volumes of deforestation-free soy produced from an area of interest to most downstream soy users, while also developing an approach that industry actors can effectively roll-out in their supply chains.

The coalition will not advise companies on where to source from, nor will it encourage the avoidance of problematic areas. On the contrary, this project intends to foster positive change on the ground, building on existing initiatives, in areas at risk of deforestation, so that the Coalition’s members can proactively contribute to reduce the risk associated with sourcing from these locations.

Currently in the scoping phase of the project, the coalition is working to map key sourcing areas with support from TRASE, identify areas of collective risks, and identify initiatives which could be helpful for companies to collaborate with. In 2019, the coalition will enter the implementation phase, when it will support both areas of best practice and areas of risk that are committed to improvement. The coalition will also demonstrate concrete actions towards the implementation of zero net deforestation and work to enlist other key stakeholders, such as suppliers and civil society partners.

If you would like more information about the Soy Buyers Coalition, please contact Debora Dias, Environmental Sustainability Senior Manager at the CGF.