Sustainable Procurement of Soybeans
Relevance to our business
With the conviction that soybeans will someday alleviate the global food crisis, the Fuji Oil Group has been at the forefront of companies pursuing the potential of soybeans as a food ingredient since 1957, growing our soy-based ingredients business with soy meat as a typical ingredient. In this business, we procure whole soybeans and soybean-derived raw materials, such as defatted soybeans and soy protein. We also procure and use soybean oil at several percent of the total weight of ingredients in our vegetable oils and fats business.
Soybeans are cultivated in a wide range of regions, from cool temperate zones to the tropics, and are one of the most widely used raw materials for food products in the world. Soy meat, soymilk and other products made from soybeans have recently been attracting attention as a food that can address our global food issues with the continuing growth of the world population. They are also increasingly important as a food associated with the growing interest in health globally.
On the other hand, we are also aware that the infringement of rights of indigenous people and communities and other human rights problems, as well as the destruction of forests and ecosystems, soil contamination of farmlands due to pesticides, and other environmental problems are occurring in some soybean producing regions.
In June 2021, the Fuji Oil Group formulated the Responsible Soybeans and Soy Products Sourcing Policy in order to meet the expectations of our customers amid the growing needs for soy products, while addressing the issues at soy production areas. After establishing the policy, we set medium- to long-term goals and KPIs to achieve sustainable procurement of soybeans.
The Group will procure soybeans and soy products produced in a responsible manner from suppliers that take the environment and human rights into account, and strive to identify problems and provide solutions across the supply chain through continuous engagement with our suppliers of soybeans and soy protein raw materials.
The Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) oversees initiatives in this area and advances policy measures in line with the roadmap for 2030 at the subcommittee on soybeans of the Global Sustainable Sourcing Committee. Also, the ESG Committee,*1 an advisory body to the board of directors, has been monitoring the progress and results of initiatives as a material ESG issue.*2 The ESG Committee reports insights to the board of directors for review.
*1 Follow the link below to learn more about the ESG Committee.
*2 Follow the link below to learn more about material ESG issues.
Goals / Results
At least 90% complete At least 60% complete Less than 60% complete
|Medium- to long-term goals||KPI||FY2020 Goals||FY2020 Results||Self-assessment|
|No deforestation, no exploitation||Traceability achieved to the community level, or 100% procurement of RTRS*-certified products or products certified to equivalent standards||Traceability achieved to primary collection points, or 100% procurement of RTRS-certified products or products certified to equivalent standards||Formulate the policy framework for sustainable procurement of soybeans||Formulated the Responsible Soybeans and Soy Products Sourcing Policy framework|
* Round Table on Responsible Soy Association
The Fuji Oil Group formulated its sourcing policy and set medium- to long-term goals and KPIs for palm oil in 2016. With the growing concerns for the environmental and human rights issues arising from soybeans, we expanded the scope to include soybeans and soy protein raw materials. In May 2020 we joined RTRS, a non-profit organization promoting responsible production, trade and use of soybeans, and received guidance from outside organizations, which allowed us to formulate the policy framework during FY2020 and the policy itself in June 2021. Going forward, we will continue to improve traceability to achieve our goals to identify the problems and find solutions to each problem at our production sites.
Our sustainable procurement of soybeans mainly involves soybeans and soy protein raw materials sourced from North America and China.* Improving traceability is the key to understanding the problems in each producing region. To address this issue, we set the following goals for FY2021.
- Set traceability goals and KPIs (completed in June 2021)
- Finalize the definition of “community” in our 2030 goals
* Corresponds to approximately 75% of soybeans and soy products currently purchased by the Group. We have to collect detailed data on the remaining 25%, which corresponds to soybean oil and soy lecithin. We plan to set their KPIs by the end of FY2022.
Solution-based approaches to implementing the Responsible Soybeans and Soy Product Sourcing Policy
|Social issue||Solution-based approach||Location/scope|
|Global environment||Trace supply chain to primary collection points||North America, China|
|Global environment and human rights||Gather information through RTRS membership||Worldwide|
Tracing across the supply chain to primary collection points
While we currently oversee 100% of our distribution record in the Japanese market, we have an issue with ensuring traceability to primary collection points, where soybeans are transported and collected from a large number of commercial farms, in the market outside Japan.
Our performance varies for each region, but we will continue to assess the risks involved in procurement in more detail and improve traceability. From 2025, we plan to conduct more extensive tracing further upstream to the communities.
Gathering information through RTRS
In 2020, we joined the global platform RTRS, gathered information to formulate our sourcing policy. For our next step, we are making plans for initiatives in each region.
In South America, for example, deforestation and biodiversity loss issues have been identified in the Amazon and other regions. Going forward, we will engage with suppliers through the process of improving traceability, and work on improving traceability according to the definitions and methodologies for high conservation value (HCV) forests and high carbon stock (HCS) forests. We will also incorporate a supplier evaluation requirement using the GAP* concept.
* Good Agricultural Practices
Procurement of non-genetically modified soybeans
The Fuji Oil Group’s soy-based ingredients business procures only the soybean raw materials from North America, China, and Japan, all of which are non-genetically modified (non-GM) soybeans. In North America, both GM soybeans* and non-GM soybeans are distributed in large quantities. Therefore, we place strict controls on soybeans produced in North America to ensure that non-GM soybeans shipped to us are cultivated, transported and stored separately from GM soybeans.
In China, which is a major source of soybeans for us, the cultivation of GM soybeans is prohibited. In recent years, however, GM soybeans have been imported to China as raw materials for oil extraction. Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to manage non-GM soybeans through strict separation from GM soybeans. Regarding the procurement of soybeans from China, we continue to respond to strict management requirements through close cooperation among our Group companies while adopting management know-how from Fuji Oil Co., Ltd.
* Genetically modified (GM) soybeans: Soybeans that have been engineered through gene recombination to produce a more stable yield by adding functions such as herbicide resistance