Dutch Supermarkets linked to deforestation twice the size of the Veluwe 


New research from the international environmental organization Mighty Earth shows that as of March 2019, the largest soy exporters to the Netherlands are linked to large-scale deforestation and land conversion. Over the last one and a half year Mighty Earth detected destruction of more than 200,000 hectares of Brazilian rainforest and savannah – an area almost two times the size of the Veluwe – from soy traders exporting to the Netherlands. Dutch supermarkets are therefore exposed to major deforestation risks.  

Mighty Earth’s new Soy & Cattle Tracker brings to light the obscured data connecting meatpackers and soy traders to deforestation and unsustainable land conversion in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado. US soy giants Cargill and Bunge are the worst-performing soy traders in Mighty Earth’s study, found to be linked to mega farms with over 61,000 hectares of clearance in in Brazil’s Amazon and Cerrado Mighty Earth calls upon supermarkets to break their ties with these worst scoring soy traders.  

In response to questions from Mighty Earth, Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl and ALDI were not able to confirm or deny their links with these or other soy companies. However, the supermarkets recently sent an urgent letter to the major soy traders threatening with sanctions if the soy traders do not take immediate action against deforestation. The bulk of the soy is used as a cheap feed for the chicken and pork industry, selling these meat products on supermarket shelves 

Wouter Kolk, Campaign Director Mighty Earth notes:Dutch consumers do not want to celebrate Christmas with meat containing soy for which Brazilian forest has been destroyed. We call on the CEOs of Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl and ALDI to break their ties with Cargill and Bunge. That is the only way to stop these companies from fueling the destruction of Brazilian nature.”  

This week Mighty Earth started a petition by which Dutch customers of Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl and ALDI call upon them to stop doing with soy giants such as Cargill.  

Together Cargill and Bunge import at least 580.000 tons of soy through the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The Netherlands is one of the largest soy importers in the world and the largest EU importer of soy from Brazil. In the first half of 2020, Dutch imports of Brazilian soy grew by more than 40%.  

The Mighty Earth study shows that more than 60% of imported Brazilian soy comes from the Amazon and Cerardo – the areas most at risk of deforestation and conversion. Dutch supermarkets including Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl and ALDI are exposed to high risks of deforestation through companies such as Cargill and Bunge.  

Mighty Earth’s Soy & Cattle Deforestation Tracker shows the magnitude of deforestation and conversion linked to the 10 largest agribusinesses operating in Brazil that trade beef and soy to Europe, China and the US.