An agreement on the future of the soy industry in Cerrado, Brazil, would be very, very important. That is the reason. The Cerrado is huge, almost three times larger than Texas. It is a mixture of savannah, forest and forest with a very high biodiversity. It is also the center of the biggest agricultural boom on the planet in recent decades. It now supplies silk imports to much of China and the European Union (EU), especially as President Trump`s tariffs increasingly limit the flow of American soybeans to Asian markets. Finally, these companies and their CEOs could bask in the reputation of the biggest deforestation victory of all time. Make no mistake, this is what we could talk about here, as this would be the first large-scale agreement involving a nuclear origin zone for a large raw material. Next, the six companies commit to monitoring supply chains in 25 Cerrado communities, says David Cleary, director of global agriculture at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), an NGO. TNC collaborates with soymarques and helps them implement their deforestation commitments. According to Cleary, the agreement is important, not least because it was reached through the SCF, in which six major traders participate. “They have considerable weight in the market, which means a lot that they did it together and not on an individual basis,” he says.
However, many industry analysts, while pleased with this apparent progress, reserve a judgment on the importance of the agreement. It is still too early to properly assess the announced measures, based on the definition used for the selection of “high-risk” communities, said Tiago Reis, a PhD student in agricultural supply chain at the Catholic University of Louvain: “The devil is in the details. But it seems to be a step forward,” he said. The other important aspect of a future Cerrado deal, and why Cleary has previously hailed it as “potentially the greatest deforestation victory of all time,” is that it will be an agreement covering all habitats, not just forests. Between 2000 and 2014, about 30% of the soy extension in the Cerrado was to the detriment of local vegetation (3). A similar proportion of soybean expansion in the Amazon was due to deforestation between 2004 and 2005 (9), which triggered the implementation of the soy moratorium (SoyM) in the Amazon in 2006. Amazon SoyM is a zero-deforestation deal between civil society, industry and government, which prohibits the purchase of Soy, grown on recently deforested land in the Brazilian Amazon. In May 2016, the Amazon SoyM was renewed indefinitely. . . .