Analysis

Analysis

How are traders performing?

The first WWF Soy Traders Scorecard shows that none of the world's biggest soy traders are doing enough to stop the devastating impacts of soy production and procurement on our world’s forests, grasslands, and savannahs.

All of the soy traders assessed in this scorecard must urgently turn words — and silence — into action, and ensure soy supply chains are free from deforestation, conversion, and human rights abuses.

Only 9

out of 22 traders responded to the survey

More than half of the 22 traders approached did not respond.

52% of global soy exports

The 9 respondents represent 52% of global soy exports.

52.5
OUT OF 100 WAS THE HIGHEST SCORE

Even the top scorer has much more work to do to align with best practices outlined by the Accountability Framework initiative.

There is substantial room for progress for all

0-100
Non-respondent
?
0-20
Non-performer
21-40
Poor
41-60
Elementary
61-80
Intermediate
81-100
Advanced

The 22 traders assessed in this scorecard have been‌ ‌chosen‌ ‌for‌ ‌inclusion‌ based‌ ‌on‌ their ‌potential‌ ‌exposure‌ ‌to‌ ‌deforestation and conversion‌ ‌risk‌. This was measured‌ ‌by‌ their ‌estimated‌ ‌volumes‌ ‌of‌ ‌soy‌ ‌exported‌ ‌from‌ ‌key‌ ‌producing‌ ‌countries—Brazil,‌ the US,‌ ‌Argentina,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Paraguay—as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌estimations‌ ‌by‌ ‌trase.earth‌ ‌of‌ deforestation‌ ‌risk‌ ‌linked‌ ‌to‌ ‌soy‌ ‌from‌ ‌these‌ ‌areas.

Key findings

Setting and strengthening goals
1

Many of the world’s biggest and most exposed soy traders have committed to addressing deforestation, conversion and human rights abuse in their supply chains. But none of them are taking sufficient action to tackle these pressing issues.

None of the traders assessed are showing leadership in tackling deforestation, conversion, and human rights abuse in soy supply chains. There is substantial room for progress for all, across all priority areas covered in this assessment. This scorecard does not reveal a group of leading soy traders that are able to guarantee sustainable soy supply chains. 

Soy traders represent a key bottleneck where ambitious action is needed. The traders assessed represent an estimated 69% of global soy exports. Due to the level of concentration at this stage of the supply chain, the trading companies featured in this scorecard have the capacity to swiftly drive large-scale change across the soy industry by collectively raising the ambition of their commitments and implementation plans.

7 of the 9

traders who responded to the survey declared having a commitment to deforestation- or conversion-free soy, and the same number declared a commitment to respecting all human rights.

What's the difference between ‘deforestation’ and ‘conversion’?

DEFORESTATION is the loss of natural forest as a result of changing the forest to agricultural or non-forest land use, including plantations, or severe or sustained degradation of the forest ecosystem.
 

CONVERSION is the change of any natural ecosystem (including forests, but also extending to other ecosystems such as savannahs, grasslands, and wetlands) to another land use, or a significant change in the species composition, structure, or function of the ecosystem.

Like forests, other natural ecosystems are critical for carbon storage, biodiversity protection, water supply, mitigation of natural hazards, adaptation to climate change, and sustaining the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples and local communities. Essential non-forest ecosystems are at high risk of conversion for soy production, including the Cerrado, the Gran Chaco, and the Northern Great Plains.

2

Existing commitments to deforestation- and/or conversion-free soy need to be strengthened: they lack clear cutoff dates and ambitious target dates. They don’t apply to all parts of traders’ supply chains nor to all ecosystems at risk.

Although the majority of traders who responded to the survey have a commitment to deforestation-free soy, most are failing to apply it across all of their operations, suppliers, and sourcing regions.

As a result, significant volumes of soy being handled by these companies are not covered by their commitment, and important habitats are left at high risk of conversion.

While 4 of the 9 traders

who responded had a conversion-free commitment, 3 only included deforestation in their commitment.

4 of the 7 

traders with deforestation-free commitments lost points for scope limitations—meaning their commitment didn’t apply to all of their operations, sourcing regions, and/or indirect suppliers.

What are cutoff dates and target dates?

A CUTOFF DATE is the reference date after which commodities produced on newly converted areas don't comply with a zero deforestation or conversion commitment .

A TARGET DATE is the date by which the company intends to have fully achieved its commitment. 

Success story 

Towards a deforestation and conversion-free salmon industry

Implementing a 2020 cutoff date for biomes beyond the Amazon is possible. In January 2021, three Brazilian traders which supply soy to the salmon industry, CJ Selecta, Caramuru and Imcopa/Cervejaria Petrópolis, committed to implementing a 100% deforestation- and conversion-free soybean value chain with 2020 as their cutoff date.

3

None of the traders assessed have committed to a 2020 (or earlier) cutoff date for the conversion of any biomes beyond the Amazon.

Traders are currently leaving critical ecosystems vulnerable to conversion. While upholding the Amazon Soy Moratorium is vital, expanding these efforts to other biomes like the Cerrado, the Gran Chaco and the Great Plains will be pivotal in efforts to halt soy-driven conversion. 

It is not enough to adopt a deforestation- or conversion-free commitment without setting a clear deadline after which the company will no longer source from suppliers who grow soy on recently cleared land.

4

Traders are failing to set explicit and ambitious target dates for meeting deforestation- and conversion-free commitments.

Traders are failing to recognize the urgency to achieve deforestation- and conversion-free soy. Most of the traders with a commitment didn’t have a target date for achieving it, meaning they have no time-bound goal to work towards. Of the three traders that did have a target date, none has committed to reaching this before 2025.
Only one has set interim milestones to work towards between now and their future target.

4 out of the 7 respondents with a deforestation commitment have not identified a target date by which they seek to fully achieve this.

Another 3 traders indicate target dates that are too far into the future: 
2025 or even 2030.

NO

CUTOFF DATES BEYOND THE AMAZON

None of the respondents had a 2020 (or earlier) cutoff date for conversion of any biome except the Amazon.

Amazon Soy Moratorium

(hover to learn more)
5

Most traders commit to some level of traceability on the soy they source, but leave aside a large proportion of their volumes.

Traders need to broaden their traceability efforts to the totality of their volumes, to be able to ascertain compliance with deforestation- and conversion-free commitments. While traceability alone does not guarantee sustainability, by knowing both where and how products in their supply chains are produced, companies can better assess impacts and provide support to improve them.

8 OUT
OF 9

traders have a commitment to trace some of their soy to the farm

 

NONE

of them apply this to their entire operations

Indicating that they aren't fully committed to traceability.
Implementing ethical supply chains
6

Although most have commitments, none of the responding traders ask their suppliers to take action across their entire operations to halt deforestation and conversion and respect human rights. 

While traders are taking steps to address these issues in their direct supply base, if their suppliers do not apply the same standards across their entire operations, they cannot claim that soy is free from deforestation, conversion or human rights abuse.

Traders must ensure such standards apply at a group level across their suppliers’ operations to truly achieve their commitments. 

This shouldn’t only apply to the properties that the trader sources from—but all of those owned by the suppliers. These standards should apply across all of the commodities handled by the supplier, and not just soy. This is particularly important for soy, since soy is not usually planted immediately following deforestation or conversion. 

No traders required their suppliers to be free of deforestation, conversion, or human rights abuse, meaning they can't claim their own soy is free of these issues. 

NONE OF THE TRADERS

who responded required their suppliers to have a human rights commitment or to require the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous peoples or local communities for purchases from new land acquisitions and developments.
7

Soy traders are not holding their indirect suppliers accountable for progress. 

Soy traders need to extend their traceability efforts to their indirect suppliers, and establish robust control systems to ensure that volumes produced by indirect suppliers are not linked to deforestation, conversion, or human rights abuse.

Supplier monitoring efforts should be broadened to cover all direct and indirect suppliers. Monitoring should take place at least quarterly and outcomes should be independently verified.

Of the 8 traders with a commitment to trace their soy back to the farm, 4 didn’t extend this to their indirect suppliers.

Only 6 committed to monitor their indirect suppliers for compliance with their deforestation commitments. 

Only 2 traders declared monitoring their intermediaries’ farms of origin annually, but neither publicly reported the results.

8

Supplier monitoring does not happen regularly enough and is not independently verified

All traders with a deforestation- or conversion-free commitment have taken steps to verify that part of the soy from direct suppliers is produced in line with their commitments. But monitoring should be conducted on a regular basis—at least quarterly—and results should be third-party verified. Monitoring indirect suppliers is also vital in ensuring soy is deforestation- and conversion-free.

6 OF 9

traders committed to monitoring their indirect suppliers in some way, but only two committed to doing this annually.

6 TRADERS

committed to monitoring their indirect suppliers' farms, but again only two said that they do so annually.

NONE OF THE TRADERS

are monitoring their indirect suppliers effectively. Implementation is often limited to a small set of indirect suppliers or geographic scope, or monitoring is conducted sporadically. 

9

No traders systematically support the remediation of social or environmental harm they may have caused or contributed to in their supply chains.

Reporting on progress
10

Traders are making efforts to report on progress against their deforestation- or conversion-free commitments. However, these efforts lack clarity. Almost none of the traders provide independent verification of their reported progress.

Only four of the traders with a commitment to deforestation- and conversion-free soy  reported on the percentage of their entire exposure to soy that was estimated to be in compliance with their commitments. These reported percentages can be quite high, in one case reaching 99%.

However, without a clear cutoff date, if a trader reports on a low annual rate of deforestation or conversion associated with its supply chains, this result may be misleading, as there is no clear, fixed point in time from which this percentage is calculated.

Methodologies used to calculate compliance rates are often unsound (using industry averages rather than specifics), and in most cases do not correspond to verified deforestation- or conversion-free volumes or suppliers. 

Traders should use third-party verification to provide additional assurance and credibility that their soy is deforestation- or conversion-free, but none of them do so across their entire operations. None have reached 100% traceability to the farm for all sourcing regions.

8 OUT OF 9 REPORTED COMPLIANCE LEVELS

4 for all of their volumes
4 for part of their volumes

2 OUT OF 9 HAVE THIRD-PARTY VERIFICATION

1 for all of their compliant volumes

1 for part of their volumes

7 OUT OF 9 REPORTED ON TRACEABILITY ANNUALLY

3 with third-party verification

3 with internal verification

1 with no verification

 

Increase transparency
11

There is a critical lack of transparency in traders’ disclosure of information on their exposure to deforestation and conversion risk. 

There is a critical lack of transparency within the 22 traders approached. While 13 didn’t respond to the survey at all, of the 9 that did none reported the total volume of soy they source, and none reported the location of their origin farms.

This lack of transparency means that stakeholders further down the supply chain are unable to verify deforestation- or conversion-free claims, or to identify or remediate social or environmental harm that may have occurred. They are thus unable to verify whether their own commitments have been met. 

NO

traders report the total volume of soy they source

NO

traders report farms of origin, direct, or indirect suppliers

13 OUT OF 22

traders approached did not respond to the survey

Collaborating for change
12

Collaboration exists but needs to be strengthened and focused to drive concrete impact on the ground, at scale.

Traders have shown some efforts to work collaboratively to tackle sustainability issues, but these initiatives have not yet delivered much-needed large-scale transformation for the industry.

Traders need to continue collaborating with each other, with soy buyers, with governments, and with civil society to strengthen individual and collective efforts towards a soy industry that benefits people and nature. Critically, they also need to ensure that these collaborations have explicit mandates to end all deforestation and habitat conversion—and related human rights abuses—in soy supply chains and beyond, and that they lead to bold action and measurable impact on the ground. The rest of the industry cannot progress unless trading companies are prepared to go further and improve their commitments, implementation, monitoring, reporting and transparency efforts. 

8 of the 9

traders who responded were part of working groups tackling soy-driven deforestation and conversion in specific biomes, while just 5 were part of related advocacy initiatives in import markets.
 

13

Traders assessed lack ambitious climate goals

In a critical year for climate action, a few months before COP26, only one of the 22 traders assessed had set a Science Based Target to reduce its emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals. This target is not in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, but 2°C. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a 2°C temperature increase would exacerbate extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, coral bleaching, and loss of ecosystems, among other impacts. It is critical that all traders set ambitious, science-based net-zero targets in line with a 1.5°C future, covering scopes 1, 2 and 3.