Norwegian salmon company excludes Brazilian soy due to deforestation risk

Salmon industry major Bremnes Seashore excludes Brazilian soy and soy traders involved in deforestation as a response to the urgent and escalating deforestation crisis in Brazil.

Soy driven fires in Brazil, August 2020. Photo: Victor Moriyama/Rainforest Foundation Norway

Bremnes Seashore is one of Norway’s largest salmon producers and has been a significant consumer of Brazilian soy through fish feed. The Norwegian salmon producer now opts out of Brazilian soy due to concerns over the ongoing deforestation crisis, stating that using soy represents a risk to achieving their sustainability goals.

“Bremnes Seashore aims to be a driving force in the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry. Soy-based feed is a major input for salmon production, and the use of soy represents an increased sustainability risk due to the soy-driven deforestation in Brazil. The escalating deforestation numbers, and the lack of measures to stop deforestation, makes it impossible for us to continue to use soy from Brazil. From January 2021, we will only use European soy in our fish feed,” says Simon Nesse Økland, Head of Development at Bremnes Seashore.

Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) has criticised the Norwegian salmon industry’s use of soy from companies involved in deforestation and argued that the industry must require that their suppliers are fully deforestation-free. RFN welcomes the steps taken by Bremnes Seashore to reduce the company’s deforestation risk.

Deforestation in Brazil has increased significantly over the last years, and soy is a major driver of deforestation. Especially in the Brazilian Cerrado, soy production has expanded. RFN urges all soy consuming actors to demand that their suppliers commit to stop buying soy grown in the Brazilian Cerrado deforested after July 2020.

In August, Rainforest Foundation Norway documented widespread forest fires and local communities living under continuous threats from soy producing farmers in Brazil – all of this in the vicinity of soy traders Cargill and Bunge’s soy silos. RFN’s investigation once again demonstrated how the dominant soy traders continue to drive deforestation and fuel the ongoing environmental crisis in Brazil. That crisis hit new records this year with the highest deforestation numbers since 2008. Cargill is a major supplier of soy-based feed to the Norwegian salmon industry, despite that the company has been involved in deforestation and rejected initiatives to stop deforestation. As a result of Bremnes Seashore’s new policy, Cargill will no longer supply fish-feed to Bremnes.

“Bremnes Seashore’s exclusion of Brazilian soy sends a clear message to the soy traders that the ongoing deforestation in Brazil and the traders’ current business model is irresponsible, and not accepted by companies trying to operate in a sustainable manner. Unless industry leaders like Cargill and Bunge establish instruments to protect the remains of Brazil’s native forests from soy expansion, it is likely that more companies will move away from Brazilian soy due to its deforestation risk,” says Ida Breckan Claudi, senior advisor at Rainforest Foundation Norway.

Bremnes Seashore’s decision will be effective from January 2021. After that date, the company will have removed soy-related deforestation risk from its value chain. Bremnes Seashore exports salmon to UK, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, China, US  and consumers in these markets will be able to enjoy Bremnes Seashore’s salmon without links to deforestation.