UK meat companies ‘non-respondent’ in soy survey

UK meat processing companies have been named as ‘non-respondent’ in the WWF Soy Scorecard 2016. 

According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report, millions of tonnes of soybeans are used to feed animals reared for consumption every year, with little sign of this demand slowing down.

A vast amount of this soy is grown in South America, where its cultivation often compromises the continent’s natural ecosystems, such as the Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco. The WWF claimed that in 50 years, the area used to grow soy has increased tenfold and soy farms now cover over a million square kilometres.

“It’s too high a cost to pay,” outlined the report, titled ‘Soy Scorecard: Assessing the use of responsible soy for animal feed’.

“The current best solution is responsible soy – grown without damage to the environment.”

WWF’s Soy Scorecard 2016 scores and ranks 133 leading European companies on their use of responsible soy, looking at how businesses source soy for animal feed or animal products. This enables them to see how well they are addressing the issue.

“While some companies are making commendable progress on soy, worryingly, others are making no progress at all – or are simply hiding from accountability. By and large the retail sector has made the best showing in the Scorecard, with some dairy companies also taking a lead. However, the companies that are unbranded, like meat and egg processors, are less visible to consumers and show less engagement on the soy issue.”

Trailing behind

In the UK, 2 Sisters Food Group, Bernard Matthews and Moy Park have all been listed as ‘non-respondent’.

“This sector [meat and egg] is trailing behind retailers and manufacturers on the road to responsible soy.”

Of the 36 companies in Europe assessed, only 13 responded. Nine meat companies reported using a total of 309,000 tonnes of responsible soy.

WWF believes the meat and poultry industry may be “trailing behind” due to a “lack of consumer pressure” as products often go unbranded.  

A spokesperson for Bernard Matthews said: “The WWF report only recognises RTRS [Round Table on Responsible Soy] and ProTerra certification. Bernard Matthews, along with others in the poultry industry, is currently moving in the direction of responsible soy use under the FEFAC [European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation] route and is working with suppliers and retailers on the most robust and cost-effective route to this.”

Meanwhile, a statement from Moy Park said that the company places a “very high importance” on responsible business practices: “Moy Park has a strong commitment to sustainability through multiple initiatives for protecting the environment, responsible sourcing and resource utilisation. The company sources all soy from reputable international suppliers. We source all feed ingredients subject to strict customer specifications.”

Meat Trades Journal has reached out to 2 Sisters Food Group, but has yet to receive a response.

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