In 2016 we procured around 456 000 tonnes of soya. The vast majority of the soya products we purchase are used in pet food, so Nestlé Purina PetCare leads our responsible sourcing activities in this area, together with our delivery partner Proforest.

How we source soya

Our soya products come mainly from three countries – Argentina, Brazil and the United States – which together account for around 80% of global production. Supply chains vary in length and complexity depending on the supplier.

To demonstrate that the soya we procure is sourced responsibly, our partner Proforest undertakes site assessments based on our requirements and provides technical assistance and guidance to our suppliers to help support them to make improvements in their supply bases. In 2016, site assessments were carried out in the different countries from which we source our supplies. In the countries where site assessments have been completed, the focus has now moved to working with suppliers to develop and implement their action plans, and to provide training, for example on high conservation value (HCV) areas.

Soya supply chain challenges and solutions

Deforestation and its wider effects such as biodiversity loss is a major issue within the soya supply chain, and something Nestlé is committed to tackling. Labour conditions have also been identified as a challenge, and again we are working with our partners to put remedial actions in place.

Deforestation and biodiversity loss

Deforestation is a major challenge within soya supply chains, especially given the difficulties of physical traceability of soya beans.

Within the soya supply chain, we work with Proforest to map our supply chains and to identify potential high-risk sourcing zones. Regions of concern are the Cerrado and the Amazon in Brazil, and the Chaco region in Argentina. Our objective is to source products only from land that has not been converted from forest or other HCV areas to other use, and we continue to work to improve our traceability and support the maintenance and management of these highly valuable regions.

In 2010, we made a ‘no deforestation’ commitment (pdf, 305Kb), stating that all of our products, globally, will not be associated with deforestation by 2020 (we also support the Consumer Goods Forum’s ambition for zero net deforestation by 2020). This commitment was the first of its kind by a food company, and covers all the raw materials we use to make our packaging, as well as foods and beverages.

Labour conditions

Labour practices, such as use of personal protection when applying chemicals, can also be a challenge. Proforest provides technical assistance in order to support the implementation of programmes to improve practices.

How we assess suppliers

Through our partner Proforest, we assess suppliers on how they are complying with our Responsible Sourcing Guideline. The assessment process includes exploratory and full site visits, analysis of traceability data and supplier workshops. Findings inform the development of strategies for crushers to improve practices, implementing changes and rolling out appropriate training across their supply bases.

We accept certification against approved sustainability schemes and initiatives that are consistent with our requirements. For example, we consider the use of credits from the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) – a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to facilitate a global dialogue on economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally sound soya production – to be an interim solution until assessments can be deployed more widely. We also accept traceable soya from smallholders and growers who can show they have an action plan and timeline in place for meeting our requirements.

Our objectives

Soya supply chain traceability results (not a global figure – volume is for select businesses only)

Soya supply chain traceability chart. Total volume: 456 000 tonnes. Percentage of volume traceable: 68% (2016 target: 60%) to mill and supply base (although the complexity of supply chains varies considerably).Percentage of volume Responsibly Sourced: 65% (2016 target: 40%)
  • Total volume 456 000 tonnes
    Percentage of volume traceable 68% (2016 target: 60%) to mill and supply base (although the complexity of supply chains varies considerably)
    Percentage of volume Responsibly Sourced 65% (2016 target: 40%)

Our progress to date

There were a number of different key objectives in 2016. These included the development of a series of online modules to explain the concept of HCV areas and how to manage them, and to work with one of our key suppliers in Argentina to identify and support one of their producer suppliers towards RTRS certification.

Traceability continued to be an important element of the work being implemented, with further information received for volumes being sourced for our European and US facilities.

Looking ahead

As mentioned previously, soya bean physical traceability is very difficult. Therefore, 2017 will see an increased focus on deforestation risk identification through mapping, using a range of technologies. This will mean collaboration at a landscape or jurisdictional level in order to have an impact across the supply bases of our suppliers. This collaborative approach will also be extended to our involvement in the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), where we will look to working with our fellow members to identify best practices and engage with our stakeholders.

We will continue to work with our suppliers to support them to engage better with their suppliers. We will also look for specific projects in which we can be involved and that will, for example, improve management practices or enhance biodiversity.

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