Palm and Soy

Products that are commonly traded in global markets, rather than specific supply chains from source to end user, are referred to as commodities since they are interchangeable and deemed to be the same quality. Palm and soy are two key agricultural commodities that are particularly associated with environmental issues.

Soy and palm oil are two commodities that have increased significantly in production and use in the last few decades.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FAOSTAT Statistics Database. Website accessed on [14/12/2016].

Increased demand for these products is driving deforestation in South America (soy), Indonesia, and Malaysia (palm), which are the biggest exporters of these commodities.

The expansion of both crops has been associated with cases of poor labour practices, including forced and child labour, and with the appropriation of land traditionally used by smallholder communities and indigenous people.


Around 70% of palm oil imported into the UK is used in food, with the rest being used in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and cleaning products. 75% of soy is used in animal feed.


Amount of soy needed for 100g of product:

Data from: Kross, H., Kuepper, B. 2015. Mapping the Soy Supply Chain in Europe: A Research Paper Prepared for WNF. Profundo, Netherlands WWF.

There are a growing number of standards and certification bodies that have been developed to address environmental and social concerns. The two most respected standards today are the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS).

Corporate Commitments / Memberships

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)
 Coca Cola Europe
General Mills
 Marks & Spencer
 Mars Inc.
 Metro Group

See also…