New report on strategies for zero deforestation supply chain in the soy sector

Imago Photo / AdobeStock
18 February 2019

A new report setting out concrete strategies to eradicate deforestation from the soy sector has been launched today, supported by the Luc Hoffmann Institute.

The report, Strengthening collaborative and inclusive strategies for deforestation-free policies: an evidence-based approach for the soy supply chain, is based on the findings of a project between a consortium of universities and sustainability practitioners including WWF. Under the auspices of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, the project uses co-production to explore how commodity supply chains can be made more sustainable.

Achieving sustainability in supply chains is socially complex and technically challenging, or what is known as a ‘wicked problem’. It requires strategies under conditions of complexity, volatility, divergence and uncertainty. This new report explores the socially and technically complex aspects of zero-net deforestation in agriculture supply chains such as soy, showing how achieving sustainability is highly challenging in this context.

The report targets organisations and individuals working on improving sustainability in the soy supply chain, and those leading deforestation-free initiatives.

Critically, the report advocates zero deforestation commitments ‘with a human face’. This means hearing and heeding the views of indigenous groups, farmers and other relevant stakeholders in the very definition of deforestation-free agriculture.

“We urge organisations and individuals interested in, and responsible for, improving sustainability in supply chains to see that sustainability is fundamentally a social process. Skilled and independently facilitated approaches are needed to work sensitively with power differences and conflicts,” said lead author Malika Virah-Sawmy, scientist at the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin in Germany and coordinator of the Luc Hoffmann Institute project.

Participatory science-policy methods – such as role-playing games and the sharing of mental models explored in the report – can support the development of integrated, transparent, inclusive and collaborative approaches. Stakeholders get to understand each other’s positions well enough to have intelligent dialogue about the different interpretations of the problem – and to negotiate different acceptable trade-offs – in order to move confidently towards a future of sustainable commodities for the benefit of all.

Download the report here (PDF Document)

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Email the project team at
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