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Tesco announces support for funding to protect Cerrado region in Brazil

International businesses and NGOs pledge funding and support to ensure deforestation-free soy in food supply chains

Tesco has become one of the first companies to lend its support to a new initiative designed to help end soy-associated deforestation in one of Brazil’s most important areas of biodiversity.

Tesco’s £10 million contribution over five years to the Funding for Soy Farmers in the Cerrado initiative will support soy farmers in the Cerrado region of Brazil to protect native vegetation and transition to producing soy only on existing agricultural land. The retailer has been joined by the animal nutrition business, Nutreco, and Grieg Seafood in pledging funds to support the soy farmers of the Cerrado. Conservation experts like the WWF support the need for financial incentives for soy farmers to protect the Cerrado.

It's hoped more companies will come forward to support the initiative in the coming weeks. The retailer is also inviting the Brazilian soy industry to lead the development of an effective mechanism to ensure the funding meets the objective of protecting native vegetation.

Soy is a key ingredient in animal feed, and Tesco sources a large proportion of the soy it uses in its agricultural supply chains from the Brazilian Cerrado. The funding will support the Cerrado to become a verified zero deforestation area for soy and help Tesco meet its commitment of achieving zero-net deforestation in its sourcing of soy, helping to make products on Tesco’s shelves, including chicken, pork, and eggs, more sustainable.

Tesco Group CEO, Dave Lewis said:

“We source much of our soy for animal feed from Brazil and the Cerrado region, so it’s only right we play a leading role in protecting this biodiverse region for future generations.

“The Funding for Soy Farmers in the Cerrado initiative is the first step in safeguarding a huge, biodiverse and carbon-rich area of Brazil, while also allowing farmers to continue to farm soy sustainably. This is an important next step in the Cerrado’s sustainability journey, but it will only be truly transformative if more organisations come forward and support it.”

In 2018, Tesco published its Transition Plan to achieving zero-net deforestation in its sourcing of soy. With its commitment, the retailer hopes to accelerate its progress towards sourcing all of its soy from verified zero deforestation sourcing areas by 2025.

WWF UK CEO Tanya Steele said:

“The Cerrado, like its neighbour the Amazon rainforest, is critical to the survival of our planet but it has never been under greater threat. This move from Tesco is a significant step forward for the sector and demonstrates real leadership in the fight to protect precious places like the Cerrado, a unique habitat that is home to nearly five percent of the world’s biodiversity.

“If we don’t protect our forests and precious natural habitats, we lose in the fight against climate change. We urge other businesses, foundations and governments to step up and join the fight.”

Notes to editors:

Tesco and WWF partnership

Under its partnership with WWF, Tesco has committed to halving the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket. Its commitment in the Cerrado will play a significant part in reducing the environmental impact of some of Tesco’s most popular products.

  • Read more about Tesco’s partnership with WWF here.

Tesco:

Tesco announced its UK Zero Deforestation Soy Transition Plan in July 2018. In the plan, Tesco committed to:

  • Phase 1: transition to zero deforestation soy credits schemes, starting in 2018
  • Phase 2: transition to Area Mass Balance (or Mass Balance) certified soy and zero-net deforestation, by end of 2020
  • Phase 3: transition to sourcing from verified zero deforestation areas, by 2025

Tesco also aims to achieve zero net deforestation in our sourcing of raw materials by 2020.

 WWF:

WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, active in nearly 100 countries. Our supporters – more than five million of them – are helping us to restore nature and to tackle the main causes of nature’s decline, particularly the food system and climate change. WWF is fighting to ensure a world with thriving habitats and species, and to change hearts and minds so it becomes unacceptable to overuse our planet’s resources. 

 WWF. For your world. 

 For wildlife, for people, for nature. 

Find out more about their work, past and present at wwf.org.uk

The Cerrado:

  • The Cerrado is a unique ecosystem, home to over 5% of global biodiversity and a store of nearly 13.7 billion tonnes of carbon. The majority of Brazilian soy comes from the Cerrado.
  • The UK imports over 3.3 million tonnes of soy per year, most of this (over 75%) is for use as animal feed to provide the chicken, pork, milk and eggs that we consume. A large proportion of this soy comes from South America and is at risk of causing deforestation of precious habitats like the Cerrado. [Risky Business]
  • The Forest Code (FC) is a Brazilian regulation that aims to balance forest protection with economic development. In the Cerrado, under the Forest Code, farmers are legally required to conserve only 20-35% of their forests and native vegetation.

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