Giant shipment of soy docks in the EU as deforestation in Brazil skyrockets

Posted on July, 10 2020

WWF calls for strong legally binding tools to prevent further destruction of the world’s forests caused by imports to the EU.

A ship containing over 100,000 tons of soy - the largest shipment of soy ever to arrive in the EU - has just docked in Amsterdam. The ‘Pacific South’, which set sail from Paraná, Brazil, contains soy grown on about 40,000 hectares* - equivalent to more than 80,000 football fields - of land that was once forest or grassland. This land has since been cleared for crops producing commodities often destined for the EU market where a lot is used as animal feed. 

While it is possible that a lot of the soy comes from land that was cleared a long time ago, Europeans cannot be confident that soy shipments to the EU are not linked to recent deforestation or ecosystem conversion. There is currently no EU law guaranteeing that soy and other commodity imports are deforestation-free meaning that European consumers unwittingly risk consuming products that contribute to rainforest, savannah and grassland destruction.
Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Officer at WWF EU said: “Europeans are unwittingly consuming meat and dairy products from animals fed on soy grown on deforested land in Brazil. The EU does not restrict soy linked to deforestation and the destruction of grasslands from entering the EU market. Destroying these natural ecosystems emits massive amounts of CO2 and has an enormous impact on our planet’s biodiversity and ability to fight climate change. We need a strong EU law to shut down the EU market for soy that destroys nature.”
The EU is the world’s second-largest market for forest-risk commodities after China. While the EU imports less soy than China, studies (1, 2) show its soy imports carry a greater risk of being linked to deforestation.  
This summer the European Commission will open a public consultation on a new law to stop products linked to deforestation from entering the EU market. 
*This calculation is based on a production of about 2,500 kg soy per ha. The real figure could be higher or lower, depending on the specific circumstances the soy was grown in (soil, weather conditions etc.).

Contact information:
Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove
Senior Forest Policy Officer WWF European Policy Office
+32 485 843 144
The ship arriving at the Port of Amsterdam.