Food production, including farming animals for meat and dairy, requires space and huge amounts of water and feed.
One of the biggest causes of forest loss is the expansion of agricultural land for livestock, soy feed production and palm oil.
We cannot tackle the climate crisis without protecting and restoring nature, including forests and other precious landscapes. We need action to eliminate deforestation and land conversion from UK supply chains. This is a key pillar of the WWF Basket.
WWF Basket - Key Metrics on Deforestation and Conversion
The WWF Basket targets an outcome of 100% deforestation and conversion-free agricultural commodity supply chains by 2025, with a 2020 cut-off date for conversion.
To track progress towards eliminating deforestation and land conversion in UK food system supply chains, the WWF Basket focuses on two key commodities used in food production: palm oil and soy.
For palm oil, the WWF Basket tracks the percentage of palm oil from importers with a credible action plan, to demonstrate clear progress towards sourcing only verified zero deforestation and conversion free palm oil. The most stringent RSPO certification remains an important tool for ensuring that palm oil is from deforestation-free and sustainable sources, however – this certified supply is limited to a fraction of production from big companies and can exclude smallhold farmers. Broader supply chain action to drive transformation at scale is needed. It is important to ensure that the suppliers UK retailers are doing business with are not driving deforestation for other buyers, moving from clean supply chains to clean suppliers.
For soy, the WWF Basket tracks the percentage of soy traceable to verified zero deforestation areas. This metric has been selected because, currently, the UK meat, egg and dairy industry is reliant on imports of soy produced in regions of South America where there are high rates of land conversion, which risks eradicating biodiverse and carbon-rich habitats (WWF Risky Business 2020). While mass balance certification and credit schemes have supported sustainable production of soy they do not provide traceability and assurance for the end products.
Certification credits for individual farms are important but these alone do not tackle conversion across new frontiers. We need to ensure that habitats are protected across the entire soy producing region.
You can find out the latest WWF Basket data on deforestation and conversion in our 2023 report, What's in Store for the Planet: the Impact of UK Shopping Baskets on Climate and Nature - 2023.
You can find out more about the WWF Basket ambition to eradicate deforestation and conversion in the Blueprint for Action and WWF Basket Outcomes and Measures.
What's in Store for the Planet: The Impact of UK Shopping Baskets on Climate and Nature 2023
Resources on deforestation and conversion
8 things to know about Palm Oil
Find out more here: https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil
The Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC)
The POTC is a pre-competitive coalition to remove deforestation and exploitation from the palm oil production sector.
Find out more here https://www.palmoiltransparency.org/.
The Soy Story
As soy production rapidly expands, our ecosystems feel the pressure. Read more here.
Principles and guidance for the Retail Soy Group (RSG)
UK Soy Manifesto
The UK Soy Manifesto is a collective industry commitment to work together to ensure all physical shipments of soy to the UK are deforestation and conversion free). To find out more visit https://www.uksoymanifesto.uk.
Designing due diligence
WWF is calling for the UK Government to strengthen the laws around due diligence in UK supply chains, to ensure legislation applies across all deforestation risk commodities, and that the rules apply to businesses of all sizes.
Find out more in our “Designing Due Diligence” report. There is also a step by step guide for business for implementing due diligence here.
Policy Briefing: Deforestation & Conversion Free Commodities are Critical for a 1.5°C Pathway
This policy brief presents WWF recommendations on why and how to include zero deforestation and conversion policies to insure credible public and corporate 1.5°C roadmaps.