Mar 04, 2021

Bunge Launches Program to Monitor Sustainable Soy

Program will support grain dealers, producers with monitoring systems, such as satellite and farm-scale images

source: Bunge

Bunge launches an unprecedented initiative to share best practices with grain dealers about traceability and monitoring of soybeans crops linked to its indirect supply chain in the Cerrado region, one of the high-risk areas of deforestation in Brazil.

Dubbed Bunge Sustainable Partnership, the program will help partners implement supply chain verification systems, including satellite and farm-scale images.

Dealers can adopt independent imaging services or use Bunge's geospatial monitoring structure at no cost. The initiative is part of Bunge's global non-deforestation policy with a public and voluntary commitment to reaching deforestation-free value chains worldwide by 2025.

Bunge already has 100% traceability to the farm for its direct purchases and in the Brazilian Cerrado region alone, the Company monitors more than 8,000 farms, reaching a total of 11.6 million hectares (28.6 million acres), which accounts for 96% of the soybeans purchased directly in this region. With the engagement of grain dealers through the Bunge Sustainable Partnership, the company expects to reach 100% of traceability and monitoring of its indirect purchases in the next four years. Bunge currently traces and monitors approximately 30% of its indirect purchases.

"We recognize the important role we can play in our industry," says Rob Coviello, Bunge’s Chief Sustainability Officer and Government Affairs. "This unprecedented initiative is a way for Bunge to share with its supply chain the best practices we use to build value chains that are traceable and verifiable. We value our partnership with dealers and producers to make our supply chains increasingly productive and sustainable and we believe that solutions at-scale and with long-term impacts are only possible when all partners in the value chain, from farmers to customers, are involved and engaged."

The company will share its experience, methodologies and tools with partner dealers interested in implementing or improving the social and environmental evaluation of their suppliers (farmers).

For monitoring, which involves verifying soybean crops by satellite images, dealers may choose to contract their own systems or use Bunge's structure free of charge. The pilot program is being carried out in partnership with Agrícola Alvorada, and data from the properties the dealer buy soybeans from have already been included in Bunge's satellite monitoring cycle for this year.

"Bunge's support and expertise in monitoring and tracking is critical to the overall improvement of our supply chain. It accelerated our adaptation to market demands," says Jarbas Weis, managing director of Agrícola Alvorada.

Farm-scale monitoring

Bunge is the only company in the sector that uses data from Brazil's Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) at this scale to obtain accurate information about the dimensions of the properties and their borders in Brazil. This enables the observation of land-use changes more accurately on each of the monitored properties, which is otherwise not possible with limited GPS coordinates. This new offering would allow grain dealers to use the same model to monitor their suppliers.

"Grain dealers play an important role in our industry by giving market access to small and medium-sized farmers," explains Roberto Marcon, Bunge's Origination Director. "By helping them implement traceability and monitoring systems and tools, we are doing our part to contribute to the entire sector."

Under its global non-deforestation commitment, Bunge also takes several actions to encourage sustainable agriculture, from special financing lines to mapping areas already open and suitable for soybean expansion.

The most recent example is the AgroApp Bunge, an app that works as a hub of information and tools to support sustainable production, to address sustainability-related issues and to offer overall support to farmers. Through this communication channel, farmers have easy access via mobile devices to CAR data on their properties, which contributes to the property's overall environmental and biodiversity management.

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