FrieslandCampina and sustainable soy

6 February 2013

FrieslandCampina is a strong proponent of buying sustainably produced raw materials, such as soy. For this reason, for some time now we have been working closely with other chain partners to help us achieve our aim of 100% sustainable soy in 2015. Together with other partners, South American soy that does not originate from deforested areas is purchased. The quantities in question will continue to increase over the next few years.

A few facts:

Soy meal, a co-product of soy production, which the member dairy farmers of FrieslandCampina feed their cows, originates in part from areas in Southern Brazil and Argentina, far beyond the rain forest zones.

Share of soy meal in cattle feed
A cow’s diet is largely made up of grass (46%) and corn (41%), supplemented with concentrated feed (13%). 5% of this concentrated feed consists of soy meal, which equates to a 0.65% of a cow’s overall diet!

Replacement of soy with European protein crops
The replacement of soy with protein crops cultivated in Europe is conceivable, but not as easy as it appears. Together with CLM, FrieslandCampina has investigated this option. Our investigation shows that the protein crop yield per hectare in Europe is still low. To generate a large enough yield, a disproportionate amount of land would be needed. This is land that would have to be taken from the cultivation of crops for human consumption. Furthermore, the cultivation of European protein crops in comparison with sugar beet and grain, for example, is not a financially attractive proposition. This means that there is currently no reason for European arable to switch.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Partly owing to the efficient feeding method, greenhouse gas emissions per kilo of milk in the Netherlands are among the lowest in the world. One of the reasons for this is the use of soy meal that has specific amino acid properties, making digestion more efficient than is the case with other protein-based raw materials.

Read more on our page about responsible soy.