Researchers from the TRADE Hub have spent over two years exploring the various policies and instruments that have potential to increase the level of sustainability of the soybean supply chain in Brazil: home to the world’s greatest production and export of the crop. The paper provides the reader with a broad overview of the Brazilian soybean supply chain, including its impacts on nature and people. It explores the wider policy landscape, then proceeds to zoom in on specific policies, their international and national context, effectiveness and promise for increasing the overall supply chain sustainability.
These key messages contextualize the report:
- In 2019 international trade for soybean was worth over US$55 billion, and it was more than 7 times larger compared to its 1995 level. However, the ‘miracle growth’ of the soybean supply chain is associated with a wide range of sustainability concerns.
- Since the 2000s, various policies and initiatives led by a diverse range of stakeholders have been designed and implemented to address the multiple sustainability concerns in the soybean supply chain, making the current institutional landscape a rather complex puzzle.
- Despite the multiplication and diversification of instruments and initiatives for sustainable soy, the unintended negative consequences of soybean expansion on people and nature remain sizeable.
Key findings on the different policies include:
- The same policy instrument can have heterogeneous impacts on different communities and territories – both below and beyond national-level boundaries.
- While sustainability measures in the soybean supply chain have increased in number and diversified in their scope, none has proven to be fully successful, and their level harmonisation is still limited, requiring further efforts for the identification of the optimal policy mix.
- Furthermore, different measures typically address only a narrow set of dimensions of the broader social and environmental sustainability spectrum, and the level of integration of different instruments across geographies and stakeholders appears to be still limited to address global sustainability concerns.
- To support further institutional harmonisation, we reviewed strengths and limitations associated with each policy instrument, developing an original and intuitive visualisation framework to position different measures within the institutional landscape, pointing out their jurisdictional boundaries and highlighting the stakeholders vested with the power to influence their design and implementation.
For more information on specific sustainability policy instruments, and more fleshed out findings, you can access the report here.