Forests contain the overwhelming majority of life on Earth, including 80% of the planet’s terrestrial species and provide livelihoods for 1.6 billion people. They play a critical role in helping to regulate our weather and absorb billions of tonnes of carbon annually. We are committed to protecting forests and working towards sourcing only from verified zero deforestation areas.
tonnes of CO2e absorbed by forests annually
of terrestrial species live in forests
We're aiming for zero deforestation when sourcing our key forest risk commodities
We have a responsibility to play our part in tackling deforestation. We’re doing this through the choices we make when we source products, by working with industry and by supporting initiatives that combat deforestation. Although small in terms of global trade, we can still influence the way commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil and timber are produced and traded. We do this by working with industry, NGOs and experts such as WWF, CGF Forest Positive Coalition, Soy Transparency Coalition, and the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition.
Soy is a key source of protein and is widely used in animal feed. With rising global demand, the expansion of soy production has led to deforestation and habitat conversion in many important ecosystems.
Tesco plays an important role in the soy supply chain since it feeds much of the meat, fish, eggs, dairy and other animal products that we sell in our stores. Tesco has made an industry leading commitment to source all the soy in our supply chains from whole regions that are verified as deforestation-free by 2025.
Although Tesco is a large retailer, we only use a tiny fraction of global soy production, which means we need to work with others to drive change. This is why Tesco and other organisations collaborators founded the UK Soy Manifesto, which commits its signatories, representing ~60% of soy use in the UK, to ensure all imported soy is deforestation and conversion-free by 2025 at the latest. Read more about our work on Sourcing Soy Responsibly and our Soy Manifesto progress below.
All our fresh beef comes from the UK and Ireland. We don’t sell any beef from Brazil. In 2018, we became the first UK retailer to stop sourcing beef from Brazil due to concerns about deforestation.
Palm oil is an important ingredient in many products and while its a highly efficient crop, palm oil plantations have been linked with deforestation and conversion, climate change and biodiversity loss. Certification is a key driver to making palm oil production more sustainable. We source 100% Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified oil for Tesco own brand products and are strong and engaged advocates for transforming the industry.
Wood, pulp and paper is one of the success stories for commodity certification. That’s why Tesco actively supports the leading wood certification schemes. 100% of our own brand wood and paper products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), or from recycled sources.
We are working towards zero deforestation in the sourcing of soy, palm and timber, with a particular focus on soy. Our approach starts with transparency. This involves setting clear targets, mapping our footprint and tracking our progress against targets. Mapping our footprint means knowing which countries products come from and which companies trade or import them. To improve transparency, we work with our direct suppliers to map those origins. The latest scope and detail of our mapping is available here.
We lead by example:
- Achieving zero net deforestation when sourcing raw materials such as palm oil, soy, timber and beef for our Own Brand products.
- Sourcing certified sustainable products and commodities.
- Setting our UK Zero Deforestation Soy Transition Plan to ensure we are taking effective action on our most significant commodity footprint, soy.
Achieving zero net deforestation in forest commodities will require transformational change. To support this, we are:
- Providing £5m of investment to make low interest loans available to farmers who agree to growing soy without deforestation or conversion.
- Calling for a coordinated UK policy on food to drive the transformational changes needed in our food systems.
- Working with WWF to restore nature in food production with the WWF’s Retailers Commitment for Nature.
Effective forest governance is essential to reversing deforestation. We are working with partners to push for this, for example:
- Tesco, WWF and others launched the UK Soy Manifesto in November 2021, which calls on the soy sector to only supply deforestation and conversion free soy to the UK by 2025.
- We updated our Zero Deforestation Soymeal Supplier Requirements in July 2021, requiring suppliers to show how they will comply with our 2025 zero deforestation and conversion soy sourcing.