Sourcing soy responsibly

Sourcing soy responsibly

Last updated: 17/05/2021

Soy is a globally traded commodity used in a wide-range of food and non-food products (from soy milk to biofuels). However, the main use of soy is as animal feed (75% of global production). Soy is a high quality vegetable protein used in animal feed for its nutritional benefits. Soy is grown in both temperate and tropical regions. The United States and South America (e.g. Brazil) are the two main production regions. China is the largest consumer of soy, with the EU the second largest.

The Soy Sustainability Challenge

As the world population increases, so too will the global demand for meat and other animal proteins such as fish, eggs and dairy. The increasing demand for animal feed to support this is driving an expansion of soy cultivation - leading to the loss of forests and other native vegetation in the Amazon and Cerrado in South America.

To stop this trend, the Amazon Soy Moratorium was established in 2006. This Moratorium, led by industry and civil society, was a key milestone in halting further loss of the Brazilian Amazon for soy cultivation.

However, the conversion of native vegetation for soy continues in other important ecosystems such as the Cerrado, the Gran Chaco and Atlantic Forest. The Brazilian Forest Code established in 2012, aims to protect Brazil’s natural ecosystems including the Amazon and the Cerrado. While compliance with the Forest Code is an important starting point, current regulation on its own is insufficient in protecting the Cerrado (e.g. 85% of its native vegetation can be legally cleared under the current Forest Code).

The Consumer Goods Forum (comprising the world’s biggest food retailers and manufacturers) is committed to zero-net deforestation in raw material sourcing including soy.

Our Approach

As part of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), Tesco is committed to zero-net deforestation in our sourcing of soy by 2020. Beyond our supply chain, we work collectively at an industry level and with other stakeholders (such as NGOs and governments), because we recognise that developing the right conditions for a sustainable soy market requires effective collaboration. So, as members of the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), we support the production of responsible soy and we delivered on our 2020 ambition by sourcing 100% RTRS certified soy for Tesco Own Brand products.

Our approach to zero-net deforestation soy is based on our Improve-Transform-Advocate approach to environmental sustainability.

Improve: achieving sustainable soy in our supply chain through incremental change

Transform: encouraging innovative solutions

  • Phase 3 of our UK Zero Deforestation Soy Transition Plan outlines our ambition to contribute to the development of jurisdictional approaches, which will transform the industry’s approach to achieving zero deforestation soy production. We are also supportive of the development of sustainable feed alternatives to complement soymeal.

Advocate: mobilising others for action

  • In order to achieve our ambitions, we will continue to work with others and engage key stakeholders in producing and consuming countries. We are a founding signatory of the Statement of Support for the Cerrado Manifesto. We collaborate with international and local stakeholders on industry transformation to halt deforestation in the Brazilian Cerrado.

Tesco UK’s soy footprint

  • Tesco’s 2018/19 UK soymeal footprint is circa 500,000 tonnes
  • Approximately 90% is from South America (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay)
  • 99% of this is as animal feed for chicken, pork, eggs, dairy, aquaculture, red meat (in order of decreasing soy volumes)

Our UK Zero Deforestation Soy Transition Plan

Phase 1: transition to zero deforestation soy credits soy, starting in 2018

Phase 2: transition to Area Mass Balance (or Mass Balance) certified soy, by end of 2020

Phase 3: transition to sourcing from verified zero deforestation areas, by 2025





Relevant Tesco Own-Brand animal proteins



Target action



Progress against KPI

(% of annual soy volumes for relevant animal proteins meeting our zero deforestation soy transition plan)


Whole chicken products

100% covered by Tesco recognised zero-deforestation credits*

77% covered by zero deforestation soy credits


All whole animal protein products

100% covered by Tesco recognised zero-deforestation credits

100% covered by Tesco recognised zero-deforestation credits


All animal protein products and ingredients

100% covered by Tesco recognised zero-deforestation Area/Mass Balance credits



2021 - 2024

As per 2020

Continue 100% coverage Area/Mass Balance credits OR sourcing from verified zero deforestation soy areas (when available)



As per 2020

100% from verified zero deforestation soy areas




Current Tesco-recognised zero deforestation certification standards/credits*:

  • ADM RSS v2
  • Bunge Pro-S
  • Cargill Triple S
  • Certified Responsible Soya (CRS)
  • FEMAS (only accepted in specific circumstances and for a limited period only).
  • ProTerra
  • Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)
  • Sustainable Farming Assurance Programme (Non-Conversion module)

Tesco will be updating this list in Q2 2021 following the publication of it’s updated soy sourcing policy.

Current Tesco-recognised verified zero deforestation soy areas:

  • Soy sourced from the Brazilian Amazon and compliant with the Amazon Soy Moratorium

For more information contact our corporate responsibility team -