Cargill pledges to ramp-up targets on eradicating South American deforestation

Cargill has confirmed an ambitious target to accelerate commitments to end direct and indirect deforestation in supply chains within Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay by 2025 from key crops including wheat, soy and corn, which are widely used within snacks and confectionery ingredients, writes Neill Barston.

The move is part of a wider pledge from the global agribusiness covering the whole of South American continent by 2030, as the business continues to seek progress against environmental targets in response to consumer and government policies on sustainability.

“At Cargill, we are actively shaping a future where critical ecosystems will be protected for generations to come,” said Pilar Cruz, Cargill’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Accelerating our commitment is a testament to our resolve to make real, tangible progress against deforestation and land conversion, in line with our climate action plan, while also supporting the livelihoods of farmers and agricultural communities that are vital to feeding the world.”

Combined, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay provide approximately 30 percent of the world’s trade flows and 13 percent of total production of these crops. Cargill’s commitment will help protect native vegetation and support sustainable agriculture in these countries.

“As Cargill works to eliminate deforestation in our supply chains around the world, we are prioritizing collective action and collaborative partnerships with farmers, governments, non-governmental organisations, and other critical stakeholders to find balanced solutions for economic development and environmental conservation,” Cruz added.

In particular, Cargill will leverage World Resources Institute’s (WRI) geospatial expertise alongside improved traceability to strengthen its monitoring, reporting and verification of natural ecosystems and farm areas. WRI is committed to supporting implementation for deforestation- and conversion-free supply chains, which are critical components of food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate action.

“Getting deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems out of soft commodity supply chains is one of the most significant things a business can do for people, nature, and climate,” said Craig Hanson, Managing Director of Programs at WRI. “Cargill’s new commitment aligns with a vision that it’s possible to produce food while protecting vital ecosystems. Our monitoring expertise should help Cargill achieve this ambitious commitment in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina by 2025.”

With farmers at the center of the agriculture supply chain, Cargill remains firmly committed to working with farmers across the region and investing in solutions that support their livelihoods.

Sustainability is deeply ingrained in Cargill’s long-term strategy, integral to its mission of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable manner. The company’s 2023 ESG Report outlines its strategy and progress in key areas, such as decarbonization, sustainable land use and food security, as well as in-depth chapters on priority supply chains such as soy.


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