Cultivating any crop on a commercial scale for the global industry has the potential to encroach on natural lands. That’s true of course for soy, and concern over deforestation is ostensibly the motivation behind the CGF’s latest publication, the Soy Ladder document.
The Consumer Goods Forum membership organization works to instate uniform practices and standards among retailers, manufacturers, and service providers across the consumer goods industry—in this case regarding soy and soy-based ingredients.
“This document presents a way of clarifying an organisation's soy footprint that shows the relative impact of different parts of the supply chain and demonstrates where their related business actions could be causing deforestation,” says Hugo Byrnes, vice president of product integrity at Royal Ahold and co-chair of the CGF's Soy Working Group, in a media release about the new publication.
Soy and soy-based ingredients in personal care formulations are very often by-products of other industries. Manufacturers directly purchase these derivatives however, and should, according to the CGF document, be striving to measure the environmental impact of producing those derivatives more effectively.
“We are seeing many businesses making positive steps towards estimating their soy usage so that they can begin to focus their efforts on the most material uses in the supply chain,” reads the Soy Ladder.
The CGF would like further clarity about sourcing and certifying sustainable soy or non‑deforestation linked soy; more structured data capturing and reporting from businesses; standardized measurements and quantity conversions; and a tool to gauge indirect soy use, according to the group’s document.
“This document is one part of the solution and [we] are working with others to address the challenges highlighted [herein] to help the CGF’s members meet our 2020 sustainability commitments,” explains the Soy Ladder.
The group’s sustainability commitment is a goal to change the soy supply chain by or before 2020. “Soy and its derivatives are also used in many other such products as margarines, chocolate and cosmetics. CGF members are now better understanding its significant role in tropical deforestation and are recognizing the importance of tackling this issue as part of their commitment to achieve zero-net deforestation by 2020,” explains the media release.
To this end, the CGF is using the Soy Ladder document as a tool for education and change. The group has plans to run a series of webinars in October to get more consumer goods companies and stakeholders involved.