Industry joins forces to seek sustainable soya sourcing

British farming organisations have joined forces with other industries to try and ensure a sustainable future supply of soya to the country’s livestock industry.

The latest figures on EU imports of soybeans, showing an increase of 283% in imports of soybeans from the US, bringing the EU’s total share of imports of U.S. soybeans to 37% – up from 9% one year ago.

Soya is used as a source of protein to feed animals, including chicken, pigs and cattle, as well as for milk production.

The EU currently imports about 30 million tonnes a year because it cannot produce sufficient quantities with a growing proportion now sourced from the US.

The issue

UK imports of soya have also grown steadily – from 2.7 million tonnes in 2011 to 3.8 million tonnes in 2015.

However, the expansion of soya production in South America has been associated with deforestation and other natural habitat destruction, leading to biodiversity loss and impacts on local communities.

At a global level, it is estimated that deforestation and forest degradation represent between 10-20% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions.


The UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soya includes organisations such as the National Pig Association, Defra and the Department for International Development.

The forum will provide a ‘pre-competitive’ means for companies and industry associations to work together, along with the support of Government, towards a sustainable soya supply chain for the UK.

The group, which was convened by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), builds on the growing need for progress on the sustainability of agricultural commodities.

Several major UK organisations will be encouraged to commit to publishing timebound plans by April 2019 and make progress towards the goals by 2020.