We depend on different types of crops as inputs in what we produce and consume. Risk commodities refer to those agricultural products that are difficult to replace and that are produced in a way that can entail unacceptable risks for the local and / or global environment or for the people who are in one way or another affected by the production. These can be links to deforestation that negatively affects the climate, large losses of biodiversity and important ecosystem services such as water supply and pollination, the use of chemicals with negative effects on the environment and human health, human rights violations and land conflicts. At the same time, the production of these crops contributes to economic development in the countries concerned.
An example of a risk commodities is soy, which is primarily included in the feed given to food-producing animals. As much as 90% of all soy imported into the EU goes to feed for the production of meat, dairy products, eggs and farmed fish. Another example is palm oil, which today is one of the world’s most important vegetable oils. Palm oil and palm kernel oil are partly used directly in certain products, but above all they are used as starting materials for the raw material industry. Other commodities cab be coffee, cocoa and wood.
Sweden has a long tradition of cross-industry collaboration with a successful collaborative efforts in the soybean and oil palm issue. Axfoundation has been involved by, among other things, coordinating the Soy Dialogue since 2018, and has taken the first steps for the Swedish Initiative for Sustainable Palmoil in Cosmetics and Detegents (SISPO).
Climate change, deforestation, reduced biodiversity and increased poverty are challenges linked to crops such as soy and palm oil. The Swedish platform on risk commodities is a development of the Soy Dialogue and a Swedish forum for work with challenges linked to the value chain for soy and palm oil. ETI Sweden is responsible for the management and development of the platform, to engage current and recruit new members for the greatest possible impact.
In 2021, Axfoundation conducted development work with WWF Sweden, Livsmedelsföretagen and Svensk Dagligvaruhandel. It resulted in Soybean Dialogue being broadened to the Swedish platform for risk commodities and coordinated by ETI Sweden.
Do you want to know more? Contact coordinator Miriam Thunborg.