Glencore Agriculture, an agricultural commodity trading company that operates in corn, cotton, soy, and grains markets, is among the largest soybean traders in 15 soy-producing municipalities in Brazil. In August 2020, it rebranded itself as Viterra.
The company states on its website that it is working to eliminate deforestation in its supply chains and to protect high carbon stock forest, valuable conservation areas, and peatlands. In addition, the company is a member of the Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS) and a participant in the Amazon Soy Moratorium.
Yet, Glencore Agriculture’s approach lacks several features specified in The Accountability Framework, a set of common norms and guidance for establishing, implementing, and monitoring ethical supply chain commitments in agriculture and forestry. In particular, the company’s approach does not prohibit conversion of non-forested natural ecosystems, specify the scope of its commitments or describe verifiable actions or time-bound targets, establish an effective company grievance mechanism, or require that it report on annual progress, implementation actions and outcomes. Glencore PLC, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation are the company’s three shareholders.
As a member of the Soft Commodities Forum, it reported that it could trace 97.7 percent of its soy purchases back to its direction suppliers in the 25 high-risk municipalities in the Cerrado. However, Glencore sources 35 percent of its soy in those municipalities from indirect suppliers, meaning that this supply has a greater risk of being connected to farms that have cleared land for soy production. However, compared to its peers, Glencore has significantly less exposure to fires in the Cerrado. During the summer of 2020, there were 100 fire alerts in the vicinity of Glencore’s silos, a 69 percent decline versus the same time last year and a small portion of the 65,000 alerts seen in the sourcing regions of major traders.