In 2017, we procured around 477 000 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.
75% of our total soya purchased in 2017 was responsibly sourced
78% of our total soya purchased in 2017 was traceable to its source
Sourcing soya responsibly
Our soya mostly comes from Argentina, Brazil and the United States. 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. The NGO also provides technical assistance and guidance to our suppliers to help support them make improvements in their supply bases. In the countries where site assessments have been completed, the focus has moved to working with suppliers to develop and implement their action plans, as well as to provide training – for example on high conservation value (HCV) areas.
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.
In 2017, we moved our focus to working with suppliers to develop and implement their action plans. Through Proforest, we provided a training course on HCV areas and responsible sourcing for six soya and sugar suppliers in Brazil. The course was spread over four months and included an online learning platform, webinars and a one-day workshop. A second course began in October.
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, 0.3 Mb), 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 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.
Better soil for better farming
In the USA, Nestlé Purina is providing USD 1 million (CHF 984 160) over five years to support The Nature Conservancy’s reThink Soil initiative to help farmers improve the health of their soil. Adopting better soil health practices, such as cover crops, conservation tillage and crop rotation, could bring huge economic benefits for farmers, as well as long-term conservation benefits. The project includes soya as well as cereal producers. In 2017, new trial programmes were launched. The Soil Health Institute, another soil collaborator, endorsed 19 measurements farmers can use to chart progress towards achieving healthy soil, and further progress was made in addressing nutrient loss in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. You can read more about the work we are supporting, and watch a video, here. In addition, the healthy soil collaboration, which includes the Conservancy, Soil Health Institute and the Soil Health Partnership, received a USD 9.4 million matching grant from a non-profit organisation established by Congress, the Foundation for Food and Ag Research. Nestlé Purina was one of the organisations whose contribution was matched.
"With this commitment to our soil health work, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is continuing its generous support of conservation efforts to help ensure healthy lands and waters while empowering farmers to grow bountiful crops in a sustainable way."
Larry Clemens, North America Agriculture Program Director for The Nature Conservancy
Through our partner Proforest, we assess suppliers through exploratory and full site visits, analysis of traceability data and supplier workshops. Findings inform the development of strategies for soya bean crushers (who process the soya) 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, such as 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. 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.