Tackling deforestation

Forests contain the overwhelming majority of life on Earth, including 80% of the planet’s terrestrial species. They also play a critical role in helping to regulate temperature and humidity and are important carbon stores with over one trillion tonnes stored in forests and forest soils. On top of all that, forests also provide livelihoods for 1.6 billion people.

Setting fires to clear land for crops or grazing is destroying precious habitats like the Brazilian rainforest. It must stop. We support Greenpeace’s aim to prevent further Amazon deforestation. We do not sell any Brazilian meat and all our fresh beef comes from the UK and Ireland.

We will meet our target to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 through certification, but we know there's more to do, so we've set ourselves an additional target to make sure that all our soy comes from whole regions that are verified as deforestation-free by 2025.

We have called for our government to mandate food companies to ensure all food sold in the UK is deforestation-free.

Since 2006, we have been a founding member of several organisations established to protect the Amazon, and played a leading role in convening the global food industry to collaborate and protect the Amazon.

We have also committed £10 million to protect Brazilian forests.

Find out more about Tesco’s support for Greenpeace’s aim to end deforestation in the Amazon and our existing work on this issue.


As part of our Little Helps Plan, and through our membership of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), Tesco is also committed to achieving zero-net deforestation, in the sourcing of palm oil, soy, wood/paper and Brazilian Beef for our Own Brand products. We also endorse the New York Declaration on Forests.


Our approach to environmental sustainability starts with transparency – setting clear targets, mapping our “footprint” and tracking our progress against targets. This transparency is just as important for globally traded commodities such as palm oil and soy. Mapping our footprint includes knowing the countries of origin and the companies which trade or import the commodity into our markets. This visibility helps us to achieve our zero deforestation objectives at both geographic and industry levels.

In order to improve transparency, we engage our direct suppliers to map the origin of the palm oil and soy used in our products. This includes palm oil used as an ingredient in a finished product or soy in animal feed for meat or dairy products. The complexity of these supply chains can limit visibility and traceability to specific countries or importing companies.

The latest results of our 2018/19 mapping are available here. We will continue to work with our suppliers to further refine the data and improve our transparency.

Transparency is an important building block for implementing our three-pronged sustainability strategy of Improve-Transform-Advocate.


One important mechanism to achieve zero-deforestation is to drive incremental change through certification. Certification helps to ensure that the forest commodities used in our supply chain meet a recognised level of sustainable production and can stimulate a market for more sustainable products.

We have committed to sourcing certified sustainable commodities and products where possible. For example, 100% of the palm oil used in our Own Brand products across the Group is RSPO certified and 100% of our UK Own Brand wood and paper products are FSC/PEFC certified or recycled.

Soy is a priority focus for us due to the unique role we can play in the soy supply chain. All of the soy used in our supply chain is in animal feed. In 2018 we announced our detailed UK Zero Deforestation Soy Transition Plan. The journey we're taking started with certification, and by the end of 2020, all South American soy used in our UK supply chain was certified to a zero deforestation standard.


However, achieving zero deforestation in forest commodities will require transformational change, in sourcing as well as forest governance. This requires that we take action in our own supply chains as well as with wider industry.

Our UK zero deforestation soy plan includes the goal to source only from verified zero deforestation areas (i.e. geographies with effective forest governance) and outlines the journey from certification to this goal. Compared to certification at individual farm level, this approach aims to transform whole areas of agricultural production with sustainable land-use planning agreements, supported by deforestation monitoring systems.

We have a role in the creation of these zero deforestation verified sourcing areas through our demand and market signals. This is part of our support to the development of innovative and transformative solutions.


We recognise that effective forest governance is essential to successfully reversing deforestation. We are therefore working with others to support national initiatives in producing and consuming countries. In October 2017, along with 22 other global companies, we published a Business Statement of Support (“SoS”) for the Cerrado Manifesto which calls for industry, civil society and government to work together to balance sustainable agricultural development and protection of the important natural ecosystem in Brazil, called the Cerrado.