There are many frontiers of sustainability reporting. Some, such as greenhouse gas reporting, have been well explored. Others are beginning to be better understood, including timber certification or water reporting.
However, some frontiers are only just seeing the first signs of leading companies venturing into their midst. One of these new frontiers is soy footprinting. Soy can be seen as an efficient source of protein, a key component of our food chain, a reliable cash crop or a destroyer of ecosystems.
For many retailers and manufacturers, it is a commodity that needs to be clearly understood so that they can take action to ensure that their usage of soy reduces deforestation. One of the first steps in making a business’s soy usage more sustainable is to understand where that soy is within the supply chain and which product lines contribute the most to that business’s ‘soy footprint’. This allows the business to target the most material and highest risk suppliers and move them towards a more sustainable source, or even seek to substitute soy entirely. For retailers in particular, this soy footprint is very complex and approaches to calculating it reliably enough to allow the data to be publicly reported are only now being developed.
In our work with the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), we have seen that many consumer goods businesses go through a series of ‘hierarchies’ as they learn about soy reporting and start to include more data within their boundaries. This currently makes comparisons and consolidation across businesses difficult because the footprints may be incomplete and use a different methodology.
We are committed to accelerating the progress of measurement to meet the needs of stakeholders sooner. This document presents a way of displaying an organization’s soy footprint that shows the relative impact of different parts of the supply chain and demonstrates what proportion of the soy footprint is at risk of causing deforestation.