Sustainable soy: Louis Dreyfus promises to raise the bar

636668116282897410soy heart.jpg

10 Jul 2018 --- Louis Dreyfus, the global merchant firm involved in agriculture and food processing, notes that the soy industry is now growing so rapidly that managing its supply chain sustainably is becoming “increasingly urgent.” That’s why it has just launched a new policy geared towards protecting biodiversity, preserving natural resources and habitats while also generating a fair wage for farmers. 

As the second most widely used oil in the world, global production of soybean oil is predicted to grow significantly to provide edible oil and livestock protein feed. Its use is also boosted by the biofuel sector which uses the crop to produce an alternative to fossil energy. But soy production comes with other types of costs, namely for the environment and local communities.

Some of the main soybean production areas include Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Ukraine, India, China and Canada. 

Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) is working with its partners across the supply chain to minimize adverse impacts and help the industry to grow sustainably. The challenge is to generate income for farmers and the industry, providing employment and valuable earnings, but also protect biodiversity and preserve ecologically valuable natural resources and habitats.

“As a leader in agribusiness, LDC has a key role to play in addressing this challenge,” said Gonzalo Ramírez Martiarena, CEO at LDC.

LDC’s new Soy Sustainability Policy sets out the company’s intentions with regards to human rights, its environmental impact, worker practices and anti-bribery and corruption in relation to soy production. LDC’s policy also underlines its commitment to comply with the eight fundamental conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations agency dealing with labor problems, particularly international labor standards and social protection.

LDC says it’s focused on collaboration because government, business and civil society all have a stake in these issues as do farmers, business partners and LDC’s customers. 

“We really believe that working together towards [these] goals is most important. Because just as we all face the same challenges, we can only address them if we work together,” added Ramírez Martiarena.

Through this policy, LDC commits to:
- Influence and engage with stakeholders to eliminate deforestation throughout its supply chain and conserve ecologically valuable biomes, aiming to discourage and eliminate conversion of native vegetation.
- Uphold the rights of local communities and/or indigenous people.
- Comply with all eight fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
- Respect protected areas, national and international
- Not endanger species classified as threatened, nationally or internationally
- Abide by rigorous anti-corruption and anti-bribery standards.

As with palm oil, soybean oil is often in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Namely, it’s adverse environmental impact and corruption problems commonly associated with the supply chain.

LDC’s move to strengthen its sustainability of soybean oil comes at a time of greater consumer awareness about exactly what ingredients goes into food. It also comes when watchdogs and environmental campaigners are paying close attention to the moves of big companies that dominate supply chains and calling them out on environmental and other issues. 

In May 2018, Brazilian authorities fined five-grain trading houses, including Cargill Inc. and Bunge Ltd., as well as dozens of farmers, a total of US$29 million for activities connected to illegal deforestation.

IBAMA is Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment's administrative arm imposed the fines.

In June, Cargill introduced a soybean oil made from identity-preserved, conventionally-bred soybeans for customers interested in exploring a non-GMO claim on their product label. The oil is refined in Cargill's Des Moines, Iowa, plant in a process certified by SGS, a global inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

And just last week, ADM and Cargill completed the agreement for their soybean joint venture in Egypt, after receiving all relevant pre-closing regulatory clearance and formally launched SoyVen, their new project to provide soybean meal and oil for customers in Egypt.

André Roth, Senior Head of Oilseeds & Value Chain Platforms at LDC, outlined how LDC’s new policy addresses the challenge to produce enough food for a rapidly growing global population while protecting the society and environment in which we all live.

“The challenge is to use limited resources efficiently and responsibly – this is part of our day-to-day, and as any business will tell you, doing so successfully is a clear indicator of strong performance,” said André. “In this sense, preserving increasingly scarce resources – including land, water and forests – is not just a matter of sustainability – it makes business sense, and it makes common sense.”

By Gaynor Selby

To contact our editorial team please email us at

Related Articles

Business News

Start-up success: “Think audaciously, be bold and take risks,” says Practical Innovation

23 Jul 2018 --- The role that start-ups have in future product development success was a key theme at IFT in Chicago where inspiring innovation “to feed the future and beyond” was in the spotlight. Continuously evolving consumer demands, together with the need to achieve a sustainable future, are helping to fuel start-ups with convention-challenging innovation, Innova Market Insights reported at the event.

Business News

Givaudan sales rise in H1, but profits impacted by foreign currency losses

23 Jul 2018 --- Leading flavor & fragrances supplier Givaudan has reported that sales for the first six months of the year were CHF2.67 billion (US$2.70 billion), an increase of 5.6% on a like-for-like basis and 7.7 percent in Swiss francs. But the company saw its first-half profit slip 3.4 percent as foreign currency losses in countries including Argentina dented its results.

Business News

Extended shelf-life tomatoes: Arcadia and Shriram reach milestone

23 Jul 2018 --- Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural food ingredient company, and Shriram Bioseed, a leading research and hybrid seed development company, have announced the achievement of a key milestone in developing extended shelf life (ESL) tomatoes. Bioseed has field tested Arcadia’s ESL technology in multiple tomato hybrid backgrounds in multiple locations and seasons. Significant and consistent improvements in field yield and fruit quality, such as firmness, shelf-life and color development, were observed. These new hybrids are in the pre-commercial, wide area field testing stage with anticipated launch in 2019.

Business News

The consolidating ingredients sector: Ingredion convergence epitomizes a tightening sector

23 Jul 2018 --- The integration of several portfolios into a single larger ingredient entity was a key theme at the IFT 2018 Food Expo in Chicago last week. The relatively small trade show floor was a reminder of how many previous exhibiting companies have been swallowed up over recent years, in order to be integrated into the likes of DSM (e.g. Martek, Ocean Nutrition Canada and Fortitech), Kerry (e.g. Ganeden, Red Arrow and Biothera), ADM (Wild Flavors) and IFF (Ottens Flavors and David Michael). Naturex (currently being acquired by Givaudan) could be the next to disappear from a show floor, amid a consolidating ingredients world, where questions must soon be raised about a growing lack of competition and diversity in ultimate holding companies.

Food Ingredients News

Non-EU countries face new antibiotic rules on meat imports

20 Jul 2018 --- Countries wanting to import meat into Europe will now have to abide by EU laws on antibiotics as part of a new regulation on veterinary medicine. European Parliament has decided that products of animal origin imported by third countries will now have to meet the EU’s requirements of antibiotics use.

More Articles