"Brazil is burning!" will likely be seen in headlines again, now that the drought and fire season in Brazil has started.
So far in 2020, there has been disturbingly large deforestation in Brazil, and the Rainforest Fund fears that twice as much Brazilian rainforest may burn in the coming months compared to last year.
Brazil's populist president Bolsonaro seems to cheer on the harm rather than to stop it. The world's environmental organizations are concerned, and we should all be.
After all, it is our common planet that is at stake. We need a "clean supply chain" now - not in a year.
Fortunately, we are seeing the results of our work in Brazil now, because the three major Brazilian soy suppliers to Norway's aquaculture producers are committed to becoming a completely deforestation-free value chain -- a so-called "clean supply chain". But we must make them understand that we need a "cut-off" date now, and not in a year, to prevent a deforestation rush before this takes effect. Here we must be aware of our responsibility, because we only have a few weeks to fix this.
Soy suppliers for Norwegian salmon need a 100-percent deforestation-free value chain
The three suppliers Caramuru, Imcopa and CJ Selecta have supplied deforestation-free soy to us for a number of years, but the Brazilians are now moving forward and ensuring that their soy farmers who do not deliver to Norwegian salmon will not clear forests on their property as they are entitled to, according to Brazilian law.
In other words, refrain from legal deforestation.
Skretting has for a long time, been in dialogue with our Brazilian suppliers to make them take greater responsibility for sustainability in their value chain. Now they are delivering, proving that it has made sense not to pull us out of Brazil. Working hard on the ground where the problems are, has a greater effect than a boycott.
This shows that it is possible to bring about change and help the environment.
A joint project
Last year, Skretting joined forces with Cargill Aqua Nutrition, Biomar, Mowi, ProTerra and Brazilian soybean producers to take responsibility outside the salmon value chain. We established the group ‘Aquaculture Dialogue on Sustainable Soy Sourcing from Brazil’ and received measures for better traceability, transparency and supplier requirements for Brazilian soy. Grieg and Mowi in particular have been working to get a "clean supply chain" in recent months, and they deserve extra praise for their efforts. With this, Norwegian aquaculture has once again taken the lead with our suppliers on how things can be done, and it is a good day for us who are concerned about sustainability. Fortunately, everyone can benefit from this since these producers deliver to all feed companies.
The challenge with a cut-off date
Environmental organizations have been pushing for a clean-supply chain. Now they get it, but they are not happy that the "cut-off" date is set for the third quarter of 2021.
They fear that Brazilian farmers will use the opportunity and cut down forests before the "cut-off" date takes effect. At Skretting, we completely agree with the Rainforest Fund and WWF in Brazil. We pay tribute to our suppliers of soy protein concentrate (SPC)--Caramuru, Imcopa and CJ Selecta--as they are now completely deforestation-free, because no soy group has done this before.
SPC accounts for only 2 percent of Brazilian soy production, but we hope that this can have an infectious effect on the remaining 98 percent. Soy is used for livestock and human consumption, and it would have really worked if a "cut-off" date this year would also have been implemented by the major global companies that trade in soy.
Now, not in a year
Skretting strongly urges that the "cut-off" date for our SPC manufacturers be moved to now, and not a year ahead.
This is something we are working on intensely these days, and we hope to see the results of this soon.
At the same time, we would like to thank everyone else in Norwegian aquaculture--fish farmers, raw material buyers and feed companies--for the efforts they made to make this happen.
Staying in Brazil and not pulling ourselves out has proven to be right. Norwegian aquaculture has done the right thing in relation to soy. We can all be proud of that. But let's not stumble upon the finish line.
Yes, to a deforestation-free value chain, but we need it now. Not in a year!
Mads Martinsen is marketing director at Skretting Norway.