The change came into effect on 1st October 2020, with the company replacing soya with other ingredients such as sugar beet and rapeseed oils.
Globally, forests are cleared at a rate of 200,000 acres a day to make way for agricultural land, including the planting and growing of palm and soy, the latter of which is typically used in feed for animal, such as the cows that historically have produced milk for M&S. According to an article by The Guardian from July 2020, two-thirds of the soy imported into the UK comes from countries with high deforestation rates, and just 27% is officially certified as not being associated with deforestation or destruction of other natural habitats. Replacing soya has therefore been an important decision for M&S.
Forests are important not only for the absorption of gases such as CO2, but also as habitat for the greatest diversity of known species within a single ecosystem, as well as providing a livelihood and home for thousands of communities.
The shocking truth about soy and its similar footprint on the environment to palm oil was recently explored in David Attenborough’s TV Documentary, Extinction: The Facts, which you can catch on ITV Player here!