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Global Canopy: Exposing links between soy imports and illegal deforestation in Brazil

In June 2020, Global Canopy’s Trase programme, working with local organisations in Brazil, published a report exposing the links between soy imports and illegal deforestation in Brazil.

Using Trase data, the study estimated that over 80% of the soy grown on farms where illegal deforestation took place in Mato Grosso was exported in 2018. Approximately 20% of the European Union’s total imports from Mato Grosso and 21% of China’s imports were likely to have come from farms where illegal deforestation had occurred.

One particular finding was key to triggering action from the private sector. Around 80% of the total illegal deforestation linked to soy production took place on just 400 farms, which represent just 2% of the total number of soy farms in the state.

The findings of the study were presented to key business forums, including the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC). And in October 2020, the study was cited in an open letter to the UK Government signed by global food companies including McDonald’s, Unilever and Tesco, calling for more ambition on the Government's due diligence consultation process in addressing global deforestation.