M&S Food says it has entirely eliminated completely eliminated soya from the production of all its milk as part of a commitment to end deforestation.
The retailer says it has worked with the 44 British farmers producing M&S RSPCA Assured milk to replace soya feed with alternatives such as rapeseed oil and sugar beet—which are as nutritious and healthy as soya —avoiding nearly 4,000 tonnes of soya being used each year.
M&S says the move marks an important milestone as part of its goal to ensure zero deforestation from the production of its products. The initiative forms is part of the M&S innovation programme, which includes a focus on diversification of feed from soy, including looking at alternative proteins and different feed formulations.
Paul Willgoss, M&S Food’s Director of Technology, said: “Soya is widely used in animal feed across the industry because it’s fast-growing and protein-rich, but we’re all aware of the devastating impact its use is having on Brazilian forests. Our absolute priority as a business is to eliminate deforestation from the production of our products and to get there, we’re looking at both reducing our reliance on soya and finding more responsible ways of sourcing it. We’re incredibly proud of the team’s hard work to move 100% of the animal feed in our milk supply chain to high-performing soya alternatives. This marks a critical step in our journey as we continue working to play our part in ending deforestation.”
Dr Emma Keller, Head of Food Commodities at WWF said: “We’ve become overly dependent on protein-rich soy to feed our food – at huge cost to nature in precious places like the Brazilian Amazon and neighbouring Cerrado.”
“It matters that M&S is stepping up its commitment, because if we transform the way we produce food and change what we choose to eat we can turn things around for the health of our planet. We want to see food companies make the soy they use more sustainable but also to diversify and reduce dependence on single commodities.”
Alongside working collaboratively with other retailers, organisations and NGOs such as WWF to address the challenges of responsible soy, M&S sait aims to ensure 100% of the soya used for its products is sourced through approved or recognised sustainable soya schemes, including the Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS) and Proterra, by the end of 2020.