GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — COFCO International has delivered 50,000 tonnes of deforestation- and conversion-free (DCF) Brazilian soybeans, unloading its first shipment in Tianjin, China, on May 31 as part of an agreement with the Mengniu Group.

The deal, which was initiated through the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) and Tropical Forest Alliance’s (TFA) Taskforce on Green Value Chains for China, is the first in China to include a DCF clause.

As a major exporter of Brazilian soy, COFCO International said it is taking steps to improve traceability, risk management and supplier performance. The company is collaborating through collective industry initiatives such as the Taskforce on Green Value Chains for China, the Soft Commodities Forum and the Agricultural Sector Roadmap to 1.5C. In this way, the business is making progress toward its goals to achieve a deforestation-free soy supply chain by 2025 and reducing emissions from land use change in alignment with its climate strategy.

“Today, more than ever, our industry must take action to help strengthen our food systems, promoting sustainable agricultural practices that protect our climate and environment, and helping to ensure a secure supply for affordable food for all while protecting farmer livelihoods,” said Wei Dong, chief executive officer, COFCO International. “We congratulate and thank the Forum, TFA and the involved market players for convening the Taskforce on Green Value Chains for China and achieving the first milestones in the mainstreaming of sustainable soy supply to the Chinese market.”

China is the world’s largest buyer and importer of soybeans from Brazil, and demand from the Chinese market is key for the transition toward DCF soybean production and trade, COFCO International noted. 

The new DCF deals with Chinese businesses are designed to support meeting of emissions reductions targets and broader climate goals, address the social and environmental issues that matter most to the company and its stakeholders, and respond to evolving consumer expectations. 

“The Chinese market plays an important role in global agricultural commodity trade and has great potential to drive a green transition throughout value chains,” said Jack Hurd, executive director, Tropical Forest Alliance. “As a market leader in China, COFCO International has paved the way for sustainable procurement at a larger scale.” 

To help ensure that the soybeans reaching Mengniu Group are deforestation- and conversion-free, COFCO International uses a mass balance model. This is a volume-tracking system that enables a certain quantity of certified soybeans to enter the value chain, meaning that an equivalent amount can then be sold as certified. 

In preparation for the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), the company also has prepared to source, process and ship segregated soybeans, whereby certified volumes are kept physically separate from source through to processing, storage and distribution. COFCO International loaded its first fully traceable and segregated shipment of soymeal to test and align its systems with the upcoming EUDR requirements out of Argentina earlier this month bound for Ireland.

COFCO International is the overseas agriculture business platform for COFCO Corp., China’s largest food and agriculture company. COFCO International is focused on the global grains, oilseeds, sugar, coffee and cotton supply chains, with assets in 36 countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.