Some of UK’s most popular dairy brands are linked to deforestation in Brazil, a critical problem in the fight against climate change, it has been revealed.
An investigation by ITV News, Greenpeace Unearthed and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism found Cadbury’s chocolate, Cathedral City cheddar, Anchor butter, Country Life butter, Clover dairy spread, Davidstow cheddar, Arla’s Cravendale milk and Asda’s Farmers Milk to contribute to the destruction of the Brazilian forest through soya cattle feed sourcing.
Anna Jones, of Greenpeace UK, told ITV News: “People aren’t really aware that their cheese has deforestation in it.
“The reason why it matters is because these forest that have been destroyed are critically important for our climate and for planetary health. If we don’t have those forests, then our climate will tip into a kind of chaos.”
Figures show Britain imports around 2.6 million tonnes of soya for animal feed every year, and almost a third comes from Brazil.
An Arla Foods spokesperson told ITV they are “taking steps” to manage their use of soy “responsibly”
And Saputo, who produces Cathedral City cheddar, Country Life butter, Clover dairy spread and Davidstow cheddar said that from 2022 they will demand all farms to supply them with dairy produced by animals fed with sustainable soy.
An Asda spokesperson said the supermarket chain is “committed to reducing food production linked to deforestation.” The spokesperson added they are working with suppliers to make all their soya “physically certified” by 2025.
Cadbury’s parent company, Mondelez, said they expect all their UK dairy suppliers to source “100 per cent deforestation-free feed by 2023”.
Meat and diary carbon emissions
Last month, it emerged carbon emissions caused by 20 meat and dairy companies are higher than the emissions of Germany, France or Britain.
Scientific research has revealed that rich countries such as the UK need massive cuts to meat and dairy consumption to tackle the climate crisis.
But the industry received more than £348 billion from 2015 until 2020 from 2,500 investment companies, banks and pension funds, based on findings by Friends of the Earth and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung group.
According to The Guardian, this means meat production could increase by tens of millions of tonnes every year – taking up massive parts of agricultural land and causing deforestation to make space for livestock.
But large companies are buying up small ones and reduce competition, which means the chances of more sustainably-produced meat are lowering, the report said.
It read: “Industrial animal farming is on the rise and keeps pushing sustainable models out of the market.”The findings come after, in August, a United Nations report prompted warnings of a “red code for humanity” because of humans’ impact on global heating.