Certified, sustainable, non-GMO soybean meal from Ukrainian crusher has 80% less carbon emissions than European average

4 May, 2023

Vienna/Kiyv. According to a new study, by using only certified, sustainable and non-GM soybeans, the soymeal produced at the AdamPolSoya (ATK Group) crusher in Ukraine has 80% less CO2 emissions, compared to average soybean meal available on the European market. The study, carried out by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) Austria, reveals how the exclusive use of Europe Soya certified soybeans at AdamPolSoya (ATK Group) in Khmelnitsky region in Ukraine has a significant positive impact on the carbon footprint of the processed certified soybean meal.

The soybean meal produced from Europe Soya certified soybeans at AdamPolSoya causes 0.36 kg CO2 per kg of of soybean meal. This compares to the average soybean meal produced in Europe from an average soybean import mix, which causes 1.99 kg CO2 per kg of meal. This significantly higher level of emissions of soybean meal from imported soybeans is mainly caused by deforestation and land conversion for the cultivation of soybeans in regions such as the Amazon or the Cerrado.

Carbon emission reduction relevant in EU’s new legislation
The EU relies on imports of soya for producing animal feed – as it only has 8% self-sufficiency. Currently, 40% of the EU’s soya imports come from Brazil. Brazilian soybeans are far too often linked to deforestation, producing up to ten times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions than Donau Soja/Europe Soya certified beans. The carbon emissions from deforestation are in strong focus of new legislation which soon will ban the selling of products in the EU that are linked with deforestation.

High percentage of sustainable and certified soybeans in Ukraine
Despite the huge challenges that Ukraine has faced in the wake of the Russian invasion, its agricultural cultivation – especially soya – has remained resilient. Last year 1.5 million hectares were planted with soya (up on the previous year’s figure of 1.32 million hectares), with a yield up 3.7 million tonnes in 2022, up 7% on the previous year, when 3.49 million tonnes were produced. 2023 looks also to be a strong year for the cultivation of the crop in Ukraine, with 1.8 million hectares planted. Approximately 658,000 tonnes of Ukrainian soybeans (17.5% of total production) were certified as sustainable, deforestation and conversion-free and non-GM, according to Donau Soja Standards.

Dagmar Gollan, Executive Director of Donau Soja Association, comments: “Food choices make a big impact on people’s carbon footprint. In fact, food consumption makes up around a quarter of individuals’ greenhouse gas emissions per year. And soybean meal – as feed for animals – has an important role to play in contributing to climate change. This study should be a wake-up call for feed and food producers in Europe, as it showcases the huge potential of certified, sustainable, non-GM soya when processing soybean meal – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our food.”

Vitaly Kushnir, AdamPolSoya’s Commercial Director, predicts: “We believe that European consumers will increasingly be guided in their food choices by the associated carbon footprint. Ukraine offers a readily available source of low-carbon product to support this ongoing shift in food industry supply chains.”

Volodymyr Pugachov, Donau Soja’s Deputy Executive Director for Eastern Europe, says: “Sustainable soya can be a bridge to connect Europe, helping build home-grown food systems which are good for people and planet. Sustainable, Non-GM, deforestation & conversion free certified soybeans have a lower carbon footprint than imported soya. Donau Soja’s consistent work with farmers in Ukraine means that there are significant volumes of sustainable soya in Ukraine, that comply and even go beyond EU requirements. AdamPolSoya sets the example for other crushers in Ukraine on how to be both EU compliant in a non-EU country and contribute to climate change mitigation.”

This study comes ahead of the Non-GMO Summit, taking place in Frankfurt on 9 – 10 May, where sustainability of soya and deforestation-free are going to be the main focuses.

Notes for editors:

About European soya and deforestation
Globally, the change in land use – for example from grassland or forest to agricultural land – accounts for large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions[[i]].2005 – 2017, the EU accumulated 3,5 million hectares of deforestation in their imported products. Soya is one of the major contributors, accounting for 31% of EU imported deforestation [[ii]]. In 2020, soya imports into the EU were over 34 million tonnes, mainly from overseas. About 11 million hectares are needed to meet this demand – just under one and a half times the area of Austria or three and a half times the size of Zhytomyr province in Ukraine. According to the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), only 25% of the EU’s soya demand comes from certified deforestation-free production, as guaranteed by Donau Soja/Europe Soya.

About the study
In 2022, Donau Soja commissioned the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL Austria) to investigate the effects of using Europe Soya certified soybeans in further production steps. Data on the carbon footprint of soybean production are an essential part of the study and were collected in a previous study in 2021 by Blonk consultants (Netherlands). The primary data collection for soybean processing in Ukraine took place from August 2022 until February 2023.

About AdamPolSoya (ATK Group)
AdamPolSoya is a part of ATK Group, built over the course of twenty years on the principle of using vertical integration as a guarantee of quality. AdamPolSoya is a modern processing plant for non-GM soybeans of Ukrainian origin into high-quality Europe Soya certified products. AdamPolSoya fully tracks the entire chain of product supplies from a field to the consumer and maintains strict quality control at all stages: farm, storage, transportation, and processing, adhering to the principles of food and feed safety.

About Donau Soja
Donau Soja is a non-profit, independent and member-based organisation based in Vienna. The vision of Donau Soja is a sustainable, safe and European protein supply. To achieve this, Donau Soja supports, among other things, the sustainable production of soya in Europe and the development of regional value chains. The two labels Donau Soja / Europe Soya stand for non-GM soya products of controlled origin and quality from the Danube region and from Europe. Donau Soja unites over 300 members in 27 countries.

For more information on the study see: Life Cycle Assessment/carbon-footprint-project – donausoja
For more information on Donau Soja’s Protein Partnerships Programme, go to: https://www.donausoja.org/agriculture/protein-partnership/

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Email: petri@donausoja.org
Website: www.donausoja.org

[[i]] United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2020). Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry. Available at: www.unfccc.int/topics/land-use/workstreams/land-use–land-use-change-and-forestry-lulucf/land-use–land-use-change-and-forestry

[[ii]] WWF (2021). Stepping up? The continuing impact of EU consumption on nature worldwide. Available at:  https://www.wwf.at/wp-content/cms_documents/stepping-up—the-continuing-impact-of-eu-consumption-on-nature-worldwide_fullreport.pdf


About donau soja

Donau Soja is a non-profit, independent association who supports its partners and members in progressing change to address social, environmental, and economic challenges in soya, legumes and protein production and consumption. This will increase efficiency, fairness and sustainability in European food and feed protein value chains. Donau Soja is supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).