ForFarmers helps farmers reduce their carbon footprint through responsible sourcing of soy

1 February 2022

As part of its sustainability agenda Going Circular, ForFarmers is helping its farming customers and supply chain partners to reduce their carbon footprint. By using certified soy that does not include the environmental impact of land use change (LUC) through deforestation or conversion, ForFarmers contributes to a significant lower carbon footprint on-farm. This approach has been applied on a large scale in the Netherlands, in which ForFarmers worked with partners to develop an innovative approach by purchasing Area Mass Balance soy certificates from Brazilian farmers, who could prove via satellite imagery that their land had not been cleared for at least 20 years. ForFarmers is extending this approach to other parts of their customer base.  

Calculating the carbon footprint for feeds

ForFarmers has been able to calculate the carbon footprint of its feeds for some time. The carbon footprint of feed represents a significant proportion of the environmental impact of livestock production. ForFarmers accordingly has both an obligation and the means to provide solutions to farmers to improve their environmental impact. The production and transportation of the raw materials used to manufacture feed are predominantly responsible for the carbon footprint of feed, i.e. the Scope 3 emissions. Soy, for instance, has a higher carbon footprint if has been grown in countries or regions in South America where land use change through deforestation or conversion in the last 20 years has taken place.

ForFarmers reduce dairy farmers’ carbon footprint by 10%

The Dutch dairy industry has been monitoring CO2 equivalents on-farm very closely since 2017. To meet the market’s requirement to reduce emissions, ForFarmers purchased a number of soy certificates from Brazilian farmers who were able to prove via satellite imagery that no land use change has taken place in the last 20 years. These certificates are based on the Area Mass Balance model, which means that they cover farms that were 20 year deforestation-free. Also the soy certificates are purchased from soybean farmers in the same regions from which ForFarmers sources its physical soy meal. As result of this initiative, combined with its Total Feed approach (company specific feed and advice), ForFarmers’ customers saw a decrease of approximately 10% in CO₂ emissions per kg of milk. Based on this experience, ForFarmers is extending this approach to removing the impact of land use change to other markets and species.

Demand to help calculate carbon footprint

Yoram Knoop, ForFarmers Chief Executive Officer said: “ForFarmers is well placed to help the livestock sector to reduce its environmental impact. As part of our Going Circular sustainability strategy we have set specific targets, including our commitment to use 100% responsibly sourced soy in all markets by 2025. We see an increasing demand from farmers to help them calculate their environmental footprint and we can help them by linking our responsible sourcing of soy with their carbon footprint. We purchase the certificates from farmers who can prove that their land has not been deforested in the last 20 years. By using the Area Mass Balance approach we ensure that these farmers are in the same regions from which we purchase our physical soy. By doing this we not only reward them, but also contribute to a significant improvement of the carbon footprint throughout the whole supply chain."