Bunge is among the largest players in Brazil’s soy supply chain, and it is the leading soy trader in Piauí, a state in the Brazil’s Cerrado biome. Bunge has a public zero-deforestation commitment and excludes suppliers that deforest illegally. Bunge has improved its transparency and commitments in recent years, but its updated policy does not cover legal deforestation.
In late 2019, Bunge closed a sustainability-lined revolving credit facility worth USD 1.75 trillion. Bunge’s interest rate is tied to its performance on a number of sustainability targets, including improved traceability for its agricultural commodity supply chains and better sustainable practices for soy and palm oil.
Bunge has also worked within the Soft Commodities Forum (SCF) with other major soy traders to engage with farmers to improve their efficiency, so they do not have to clear land in order to increase production.
Bunge says it monitors its direct suppliers across the Cerrado. In 2019, the traceability of Bunge’s soy supply chains to farms in high-risk regions of Brazil it directly sources from increased to 98 percent, up from 95 percent the previous year. Approximately 39 percent of the company’s soy volumes sourced in the Cerrado come from the high-risk municipalities.
Along with other industry partners and NGOs, Bunge co-launched Agroideal.org in 2017 to support sustainable land development, scenario analysis, and planning to achieve its zero-deforestation commitment. Originally developed for the Brazilian Cerrado, the company’s Agroideal tool has expanded to cover the Argentinian Chaco.
However, Bunge continues to source from legally deforested farms. SLC Agrícola and BrasilAgro, two of Bunge’s major soy suppliers, legally deforested 19,683 ha of native vegetation in Piauí from 2011 to 2017. Both are confirmed Bunge suppliers and moved forward with more clearing in 2020. It is also at risk of sourcing from farms that have experienced fires. During the summer of 2020, there were almost 17,000 fires within the vicinity of its silos, according to Chain Reaction Research.
As of December 2017, Bunge had enrolled 17,000 of its direct suppliers in Brazil’s Rural Environmental Registry Program (CAR) that tracks land-use change and deforestation.
Bunge’s top shareholders include T. Rowe Price, Vanguard, BlackRock, Board Member Paul J. Fribourg, Continental Grain Company, and State Street Global Advisors.