July 6, 2020


Cofco plans to implement full traceability for its Brazilian soybean purchases


Cofco International said it has vowed full traceability for its purchases of Brazil soybean by 2023, verified by a third party, aimed at slowing down deforestation, Bloomberg reported.


The introduction of full traceability, announced in Cofco's annual sustainability report, is the first for a major global crop trader and requires China-based Cofco to trace all its soybean purchases to specific farms and locations.


Severe deforestation due to crop farming has badly affected parts of Brazil, spreading from the Amazon rainforest to the Cerrado savanna grasslands. World agricultural traders have been put under pressure for their part in Brazil's environmental crisis.


Wei Peng, Cofco International's global head of sustainability said they wanted to make their commitment towards traceability public as they are ready and want to be held accountable for their actions.

Cofco pledged to trace more than 50% of its Brazil soybean purchases by this year. The company projected it will handle between 6.7 million tonnes to 7 millions tonnes of Brazilian soybean in the 2020 – 2021 season.


Competitor Louis Dreyfus Co's annual sustainability report said it is able to trade 30% of its Brazilian soybean purchases last year, with a commitment to trace 50% of its purchases this year.


World's biggest agricultural trader Cargill said it has mapped all its supply of Brazilian soybeans. The company said it has geographic location for farms it had purchases soybean from as well as intermediaries like crushing plants and export terminals.


John Hartmann, the global sustainability lead for Cargill's global agricultural supply chain said the company aims to transform its supply chains to become free from deforestation or native vegetation conversion. He said the mapping allows Cargill to monitor and identify its supply chain from ground level.


Cofco's full traceability would mean it can find out the origins of its soybean purchases, with a detailed history and supporting documentation to prove that it was not sourced from farmland converted from natural vegetation.


Mapping is different to traceability as it has different objectives and methods. However, Hartmann said the company can provide traceability if requested by clients at a higher cost.


Cargill said 96% of its Brazilian soybean purchases are grown from non-deforested or conversion free land.


Since 2006, the soybean sector used satellite images to monitor Brazil deforestation and forest conversion into soybean farms. In that same year, Abiove, Brazil's soy processor group established the "Soy Moratorium" commitment to stop soy purchases from Amazon deforested land.


-      Bloomberg

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