“Not all Brazilian soy producers are alike”

Patricia Sugui, Sustainability Manager CJ Selecta

Deforestation and CO2 emissions from soy production in Brazil are challenges that must be taken very seriously. At the same time, not all Brazilian soy producers are alike. Norwegian salmon is not fed on deforestation and emission-intensive soy proteins.

Many argue that Norwegian salmon producers indirectly contribute to deforestation and CO2 emissions by buying soy concentrate from Brazilian producers. Therefore, the demand for alternative sources of fish feed are on the rise.

Recently, the research organisation Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) published a study, commissioned by the Russian Danube Soy, where they concluded that Norwegian salmon producers can contribute to a 41 percent reduction in their CO2 emissions (1.5 million tons) if they buy soy protein from Europe instead of from Brazil.

The study compares Europe Soya certified soy protein concentrate (SPC), produced by the Sudrugestvo Group, to average soy protein from Brazil. According to the study, Europe-certified soy has a total carbon footprint of 1.6 kg CO2 equivalents per kilo of soy protein produced. In comparison, the total footprint of one kilo soy protein from the average soy producer in Brazil is 6.7 kilos, ie 4.2 times higher, according to the report.

Although the figures may appear impressive, they are by no means relevant. Norwegian salmon farmers do not buy soy protein from the “average” Brazilian producer.

CJ Selecta produces soy concentrate for, among others, lecithin, refined oil and biofuel (ethanol). A sustainable value chain is a prerequisite for our operations in Norway and our absolute top ​​priority. If FiBL had compared Sudrugestvo’s soy protein with ours, and not with the average Brazilian soy, they would have found that the carbon footprint was at almost the same low level.

Our research shows that soy protein from CJ Selecta has an average carbon footprint of 1.93Kg  CO2* equivalents per kilogram of soy concentrate produced (considering economic allocation). That is lower than in Europe. The calculation includes the entire value chain, from the start of production until the concentrate is delivered in Germany.

We only supply ProTerra-certified soy concentrate to Norwegian salmon farmers, which means that soy production is completely deforestation-free. The total CO2 footprint from this soy is 1.99 kg CO2 per kilo of concentrate, almost 30 percent lower than the figure referred to for European soy by FiBL (as described at ProTerra foundation study).

It is important to note that we announced several actions towards sustainability early this year. We ensure this through stricter monitoring of our suppliers and sustainability reports in accordance with the GRI standard. We are also constantly working to map new and better locations for soy protein cultivation that can further reduce our carbon footprint.

The debate on deforestation in Brazil is important. So is the environmental footprint that the of Norwegian fish farming industry contributes to. This is a debate we welcome. But if we are to find the best solutions for the society as a whole, the debate must be constructive, and, of course, based on facts.