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In 2018, BRF S.A., a Brazilian company that is one of the global leaders in the food sector, developed an implementation plan for a more sustainable soy supply chain by applying the Deforestation and Conversion Free Implementation Toolkit in partnership with WWF and the support of Rever Consulting. This plan included all necessary aspects for an effective definition and implementation of commitments against deforestation, including normative documents, risk assessment and traceability practices, supplier engagement, purchasing systems and monitoring, verification and reporting activities.
To start, it was necessary to understand BRF's maturity level in its soy supply chain management practices, especially in terms of combating deforestation. This would allow the mapping of the company's strengths and the main opportunities for improvement.
Using the assessment tools of the DCF Implementation Toolkit, the work began with an assessment of the company's management practices, focused on the soy supply chain. Internal and public materials were analyzed, and interviews were conducted with key areas of the company, such as the sustainability (Vice-Presidency of Institutional Relations and Sustainability) and the grain purchase (Vice-Presidency of Integrated Planning and Supply) sectors.
The result of this first stage included a consolidation of the company's soy supply chain management practices and recommendations for improvement for each of the items evaluated.
The assessment and recommendations that were mapped in the previous stage were then used as a basis for prioritizing key activities aligned with BRF's Sustainability strategy. Involving both the sustainability and grain purchase functions, this prioritizing exercise resulted in the preparation of a multi-year implementation plan, to execute the mapped improvement opportunities. The plan included milestones and actions across the different pillars to achieve a more sustainable soy supply chain.
The implementation plan was also submitted to and approved by the Quality and Sustainability Committee and by the Company’s Executive Committee, reinforcing the strategic alignment and the importance of the topic for BRF. The Company now had not only a consolidation of all its improvement opportunities, but also a proposal for implementation, monitoring and communication of its progress.
Once the implementation plan was approved, BRF started implementing the mapped actions. The purchasing profile and the main biomes and types of suppliers in the company's soy supply chain were determined, in addition to research and benchmarks that were conducted to identify good practices and main challenges in executing the plan within the sector. As a result, the Company identified the opportunity to expand the work’s scope, making the plan more comprehensive for the development of more sustainable supply chains, considering not only soy but other grains purchased as well.
In 2020, the Company established and announced its commitment to "have 100% traceability of grains purchased from the Amazon and the Cerrado by 2025". Through a partnership with a territorial monitoring company, the management of grain suppliers was improved, from both social and environmental perspectives.
In 2021, the Company published its Sustainable Grain Purchase Policy, which reinforces the guidelines in the search for grains supply chains with practices that respect the environment. It also established a Multidisciplinary Grain Sustainability Committee to assess cases in which deviations from the guidelines are identified. This committee may even request clarification, additional information, define mitigation measures and eventually even suspend and/or cancel contracts with suppliers that do not meet the described guidelines within the Policy.
Therefore, concrete advances have been achieved by BRF on its ESG agenda and especially the issue of deforestation. This work is aligned with and reinforces the business’s sustainability and strategy, and has been catalyzed by the creation of the implementation plan and by the interdependence and synergy between Sustainability and the different business areas. These are fundamental points for the implementation of the mapped improvements and will be essential for the continuation of the company's advances in this area.