December 11, 2019
Nutreco pledges long-term financial support to help end soy-associated deforestation in Brazil
Nutreco announced last week it is the first feed company and one of the first three companies worldwide 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, the Cerrado region.
The 'Funding for Soy Farmers in the Cerrado' initiative aims to conserve native vegetation and biodiversity in the Cerrado region, halting deforestation by providing financial incentives to farmers to produce soybean only on existing agricultural land. In a separate media release, it was reported that in the Cerrado, landowners are legally required to conserve 20-35% of their land. Without financial incentives, this leaves up to 80% of the land at risk of legal deforestation.
The Cerrado region is a globally significant carbon stock but 250 million tonnes of carbon have been released annually from deforestation there, equivalent to the emissions of 53 million cars. The Cerrado is also one of the most important Brazilian regions for water production being responsible for 40% of Brazil's freshwater that is essential for agriculture.
The Funding will support the Cerrado biome to become a verified zero-deforestation area for soybean. Conservation experts like the WWF support the need for financial incentives for soybean farmers to protect the Cerrado. With its two divisions Trouw Nutrition for animal nutrition and Skretting for aquafeed, Nutreco has pledged to commit €1 million (~US$1.11 million) to the fund over the coming five years.
Nutreco CEO Rob Koremans says, "This initiative is a new breed of conservation protection, which recognises responsible action by landowners interested in tackling climate-related issues especially in environmentally critical environments and biomes. We are delighted to be working alongside Tesco and Grieg Seafood to protect the Cerrado and prevent further deforestation in the area. Soy is a key ingredient in global animal and aquaculture feed production and I hope that other companies, particularly within the feed industry, will come forward and commit to this initiative over the coming months."
World Wildlife Fund US SVP Markets Jason Clay says, "Nutreco should be lauded as the first feed company in this global effort to eliminate deforestation and grassland conversion while still producing the products needed to feed the world. Private sector initiatives like this can provide the critical finance needed to support farmers while we transition to new business models and mechanisms that produce much-needed food and protect not only the Cerrado but similar habitats around the world."
By pledging support to the initiative, Nutreco is continuing its long-term commitment to supporting efforts to preserve the Cerrado region. In October 2017, Nutreco was one of 23 founding signatories of the Business Statement of Support to the Cerrado Manifesto. At that time, Nutreco was the first and only business-to-business founding signatory. Today, over 140 companies have signed this Statement of Support.
The 'Funding for Soy Farmers in the Cerrado' initiative has invited the Brazilian soybean industry to lead the development of a financial mechanism that can distribute the funds in a way that reaches the goal of halting soy-related deforestation of the Cerrado. Preliminary studies show that a total of US$250 million is needed to reach this goal.