By the end of 2018 all of the soy that HKScan – one of Scandinavia’s largest meat processors – uses will have to adhere to strict guidelines on ethical sourcing. Guidance on responsible soy use is set out by civil organisations like the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) and ProTerra. HKScan now has little over a year-and-a-half to implement the strict requirements.
Soy is a billion-dollar industry, with 75% of cultivated soybeans used to feed millions of pigs, chicken and cows for meat, egg and dairy products. Behind only palm oil, it is the second most consumed oil in the world and is one of the most widely cultivated crops in the world, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
As such, the expansion of conventional soy production can have significant impact on the environment, especially in South America – the leading soybean producer. Concerns over deforestation, rising greenhouse gas emissions, depletion of biodiversity and erosion of soil have dogged conventional soy production for years.
Sustainable food production
HKScan’s shareholders want to see the company lead the way in promoting high standards of environmental, ethical and socially responsible meat production – and this includes using ethically-sourced soy.
“We see our commitment to responsible soy as a significant element of sustainable food production,” said Vera Söderberg, corporate responsibility manager at HKScan. “It supports us in ensuring that the entire value chain from animal feed to the consumer’s plate is environmentally and socially sustainable.”
News of HKScan’s soy plan comes after the WWF published its Soy Scorecard (an audit of 133 global companies that examines the use of responsible soy production) on Monday 30 May.
HKScan’s global strategy
HKScan Sweden received an excellent score of 22 out of 24 and was the highest-ranked meat or egg processor in the review. It is one of only five companies the WWF considers to be “leading the way” in the responsible use of soy for animal feed.
HkScan has put together annual country-specific action plans to improve its ethical soy use and to ensure its 2018 target for country-wide ethical use is achieved.
“Already today we make sure that responsible soy is used in our value chain, although the share of it varies from country to country,” added Söderberg.
“In Denmark, the share of certified soy in animal feed corresponded to 18% of the production volume in 2015. Also in Finland we have continued to make progress, and recently became members of the Finnish soy commitment.”
In Sweden, HKScan is part of the Swedish Soy Dialogue network (Svenska Sojadialogen) and met its 2015 targets: all soy used by HKScan Sweden last year was certified by either TRS or ProTerra criteria.
Separately, HKScan Group has appointed Jari Latvanen as its new CEO and president. He will be joining the Nordic meat processor in November 2016 and comes from renewable packaging firm Stora Enso.
“I am delighted to be returning to HKScan and working with good food again," said Jari Latvanen on his appointment.
"When I started out at HK Ruokatalo back in the mid-90s, the company was going through a phase of major transformation in Finland. Now we are seeing big global changes in the food industry and retail – the market is changing rapidly and food is trendier than ever.”