Every year, the EU consumes millions of tonnes of soy to use as animal feed, almost all of which is imported from places like South America. The Netherlands is the EU’s biggest soy importer, acting as hub for further re-exports to other EU countries.
A new study commissioned by Greenpeace Netherlands from Profundo shows how much soy is imported into the Netherlands, where it comes from, and where it goes. The study reveals that in 2019, over 65% of imports came from South America, with Brazil leading the charts. Expanding soy production in Brazil and neighbouring countries has been repeatedly linked to destruction of native ecosystems like the Cerrado savannas (pictured) and to violations of human and land rights.
The amount of land required for the production of all the soy imported to the Netherlands is approximately 2.4 million hectares, or 16 times the area of Greater London. Of the soy imported to the Netherlands, around two-thirds is re-exported to other European destinations like Germany, Belgium, the UK and Denmark.