Soy is an important crop for Nestlé. We source it in two main forms: direct soy (soybean oil, soybean meal and derivatives) and indirect soy (animal feed).
Our main uses of soy are for our pet food business and plant-based products. Although not usually labor-intensive, soy production can be linked to the degradation of natural habitats and land rights issues. Nestlé is continually improving the traceability of the soy we source, throughout the supply chain.
Our approach to sourcing soy sustainably
Alongside our partner, Proforest, we have developed a Theory of Change for the way we source soy. The model sets approaches for both direct and indirect soy sourcing and embeds our learnings with suppliers and key stakeholders. The model helps us ensure a continuous supply of soy from responsible sources, while playing a part in developing thriving, resilient communities and stewarding natural resources for future generations.
Our responsible sourcing work currently focuses on assessing and addressing risks of deforestation and conversion of natural habitats. In addition, we are piloting and planning a set of regenerative agriculture programs linked to our soy supply chains across the United States, Latin America and Europe.
Beyond our supply chain, we foster collaboration between our programs and landscape initiatives in priority origins to create shared value for soy producers. We aim to achieve:
- The decoupling of soy expansion from the conversion or destruction of natural habitats
- The adoption of best practices in soy production
- Equal, safe and decent conditions for workers involved in soy production
- Improved access to land and resources for local communities living in soy-producing landscapes
In addition, Nestlé has published an action plan to improve workers’ living incomes – identified as one of 10 salient human rights issues to tackle. This addresses workers within the soy industry, as well as those working with other key ingredients.
Sustainability initiatives in soy
Reducing deforestation risks and biodiversity loss
Deforestation and conversion of natural habitat is a risk within soy supply chains in certain parts of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. We are working towards deforestation-free supply chains as part of our Forest Positive strategy. We use supply chain mapping, certification and on-the-ground verification to assess and address risks of deforestation or conversion of natural habitat in our supply chains. For our embedded soy supply chain, we have developed a methodology to estimate our embedded soy footprint and our exposure to high-risk origins.
Better soil for better farming
Nestlé and Purina were early champions of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) work to help advance the adoption of improving soil health practices. As part of these efforts, TNC launched the reThink Soil Roadmap. This project uses a great deal of cutting-edge technology, from soil laboratory analysis to nutrient and moisture sensors and satellite imagery.
The program is expected to drive transformational change over 100 million agricultural acres in 16 Midwestern states in the United States, by advancing soil health and conservation practices, all while helping to increase yields and farmers’ profits (including for soy) – a win for farmers and the planet.
Regenerative ranching and agriculture in Latin America
The Nature Conservancy is also leading a Regenerative Ranching & Agriculture (R2A) strategy across Latin America to embed regenerative agriculture practices in food production while actively restoring natural systems.
Supported by Nestlé financially, as well as with critical private sector leadership, this project aims to demonstrate how agriculture can flourish while preserving the delicate ecological balance essential to our planet’s future. It, therefore, connects closely with Nestlé’s path to net zero by 2050 and our regenerative agriculture approach.
Collective action and engagement
We understand that nurturing sustainable practices in complex supply chains, such as that for soy, poses challenges that no one company can solve alone. Our approach to sustainable sourcing includes actions within and beyond our supply chain, including engaging with suppliers and key stakeholders across soy production landscapes.
Improving transparency, traceability and mapping risks
To hold our suppliers and ourselves accountable and drive industry-wide transparency, we publish the list of our soy suppliers and their corresponding crush sites in our supply chain (pdf, 200Kb), along with their countries of origin.
We also engage with suppliers to progressively map where the soy we source comes from. This is important so we can understand our exposure to non-compliance based on our Responsible Sourcing Standard – and also to raise awareness among our suppliers that improved traceability in the soy sector is critical.
We have estimated our embedded soy footprint and the portion (pdf, 300Kb) which has potential exposure to countries with ongoing deforestation and conversion risks.