Asda's Sustainability Manager Laura Babbs sets out our strategy...

We rely on forests. From paper, timber and medicines to soya and palm oil, forests are crucial to many everyday products. Forests provide places where people and animals thrive. They also help to prevent soil erosion, are critical to the water cycle and actively tackle the effects of climate change. At Asda, we know forests are incredibly important and we need to protect them.

But forests across the world are under increasing pressure.

In response to this challenge, we have committed through our parent company Walmart as members of the Consumer Goods Forum to achieve zero-net deforestation in our sourcing of key agricultural raw materials by 2020. As signatories of the New York Declaration on Forests, we are also aiming to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020 and end it by 2030.

We’ve been working hard to source our key agricultural crops sustainably; all of our palm oil is already sustainably certified through the RSPO scheme, and we’re working on ensuring zero-net deforestation for cocoa and timber too. Now we’re turning our focus to soya.

What is soya?

Soya, or soy, is a major global crop used to produce many everyday products. You might know it as tofu, but it is also used in large quantities in animal feed due to its high protein content. Soya originated in China but it's now grown in many countries.

In recent years global demand for soya has increased. In North and South America large acreages have been planted, leading to concerns that forests, grasslands and other habitats are being cleared for soya cultivation. In particular, deforestation in the Amazon has been linked to the expansion in soya.

Our plan

We understand that there is still more that needs to be done to protect these valuable ecosystems, which is why we are taking action to make sure all soya used in animal feed in our own brand primary protein products – that’s things like fresh meat, fish and milk – will be responsibly sourced by 2020.

To achieve this:

  1. We will work with suppliers to identify soya in our supply chain that has been sourced from high-risk countries and require that this is covered by zero-deforestation soy credit schemes by 2020. Soya sourced from low-risk countries, like the US, must ensure compliance with appropriate good agricultural practices.
  2. From 2020 onwards we will be working with our primary protein suppliers to source 100% physically certified responsible soya by 2025.
  3. From 2020 we will also begin to work on our processed products, like ready meals, and understand how we can ensure the embedded soya used there is sourced sustainably.

Soya production can exist without deforestation, but the supply chain is complex and creating change requires collaboration between retailers, suppliers, governments and NGOs. At Asda, we’re committed to playing our part and making sure that we safeguard our forests for the long term.

You can read more about our approach on soya here: https://sustainability.asda.com/soya