Zero-deforestation soy initiative underway with major UK supermarket backing


UK supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have invested US$ 11 million in the Responsible Commodities Facility (RCF), a new system of financial incentives for farmers in Brazil who commit to deforestation- and conversion-free (DCF) soy cultivation.

The RCF will provide finance to 36 farms in the Cerrado region of Brazil, producing 75,000 tons of soy per year (for four years), resulting in the conservation of around 11,000 ha of native vegetation, 4,200 in excess of legal reserves. The Cerrado, which lies mostly in Brazil, is the world’s most biodiverse savanna, and it is under threat from high levels of deforestation, mostly driven by the expansion of soy cultivation1. All farms in the trial stage will be located in the Matopiba, Goiás and Mato Grosso regions, areas at risk of deforestation and biodiversity loss.

After an initial 12-month trial phase, it is expected that the Responsible Commodities Facility (RCF) will be scaled up to include hundreds of farmers across Brazil, helping to protect vast tracts of native Cerrado vegetation in Brazil conserving biodiversity, water quality and carbon stocks.

An independent Environmental Committee composed of; UN Environment Programme (UNEP), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), BVRio, WWF, Conservation International (Brazil), Proforest and Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia (IPAM) will review and provide input into the environmental management of the facility. The RCF is run by Sustainable Investment Management Ltd (SIM), a signatory of the IFACC initiative (Innovative Finance for Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco), and complies with the IFACC Environmental and Social requirements. IFACC is an initiative led by TNC, the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) and UNEP to accelerate the flow of finance to producers in the region and to expand production of beef and soy without further clearing of forests and native vegetation.

Along with those contributing financially to the first programme, which also includes sponsorship from US cocoa and chocolate product manufacturer Barry Callebaut, many more major international soy buyers participated in the design of the RCF. It is hoped the trial stage will provide valuable insight into how the mechanism works in practice on farms and inspire other organisations and businesses to lend their support.

The initiative is financed through a first-of-its-kind approach: dollar-denominated green bonds (CRAs – Certificates of Receivables from the Agribusiness) registered in the Vienna Bourse. The capital raised will be used to offer low-interest loans to farmers who comply with its eligibility criteria, and commit to zero deforestation of native vegetation, over and above their legal reserves, preventing negative climate impacts and loss of habitat. The operation was coordinated by Sustainable Investment Management (SIM) working with Opea, through Planeta Securitizadora, and Traive in Brazil.

Pedro Moura Costa, SIM CEO, explains why the programme is needed and its intended impact:

“Crop finance is a key part of soy farmers’ business models and there is a huge appetite and market for green finance. By directing this flow of green finance we can support soy production while rewarding the voluntary conservation of native vegetation.

“The urgent need to reduce GHG emissions from deforestation requires a new flow of financial resources to those at the frontline of agricultural production. At the same time, it is important to reconcile the objective of conservation with that of economic production, so that one complements the other. The RCF intends to solve these problems through its innovative new financial model and to unlock these large flows of green investment to do good, by supporting sustainable agriculture and protecting forests in a financially sustainable way that, importantly, rewards farmers.”

The funders of the RCF Cerrado Programme 1 commented:

Ken Murphy, Tesco Group CEO said: “We’ve been driving industry action on tackling deforestation for a number of years, including playing a leading role in the formation of the UK Soy Manifesto last year. We’ve also made a commitment that by 2025 we will only source soy from whole areas verified as deforestation-free. To help us meet this goal it’s vital we provide practical, financial support to farmers in Brazil committed to the production of zero deforestation soy and the conservation of native vegetation. This initiative highlights the need for the whole food industry to come together and support the protection of critical ecosystems like the Cerrado. We urge more businesses and organisations to join us in providing funding for the RCF, to aid its roll-out in future years.”

Simon Roberts, CEO at Sainsburys, said: “During COP26, where Sainsbury’s was a principal supermarket partner, we signed the WWF Retailers’ Commitment for Nature, with a collective aim to halve the environmental impact of UK shopping baskets by 2030 and tackle deforestation, supporting our commitment to achieve 100% deforestation and conversion free supply chains by 2025. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and achieve the goals set out in the Paris Climate Change Agreement, it is vital that we protect and restore forests and ecosystems such as the Cerrado in Brazil. It’s why we are proud to join forces with others to help fund the Responsible Commodities Facility, investing in the sustainable production of soy, using green finance to reward farmers for protecting wildlife and biodiversity in the Cerrado.”

James Bailey, Executive Director, Waitrose, said: “We’re delighted to be one of the leading investors supporting this inaugural fund and applaud Tesco and Sainsbury’s for their leadership on this also. Waitrose is committed to doing our part to protect and restore nature, and we have set a bold commitment to source all our key raw materials responsibly by 2025, including deforestation and conversion-free soy. The scale of the challenge to halt the loss of biodiverse ecosystems like the Brazilian Cerrado requires innovative new approaches. We hope this pilot fund will demonstrate the huge opportunity for green finance to incentivise responsible farming practices that ensure we protect our global forests. Achieving this potential, however, will require broader uptake, and I’d therefore appeal to fellow food sector businesses and to financial investors to join us in supporting and investing in this extremely important initiative to help protect the Cerrado, before it’s too late.”

Commenting on the wider environmental implications of the initiative, RCF Environmental Committee members and initiative development partners, added:

“Global demand for soy and corn production is driving significant deforestation,” said Susan Gardner, Director, Ecosystems Division at UNEP. “Practical financial solutions like the Responsible Commodities Facility incentivise farmers to decouple commodity production from deforestation and land conversion practices, leading to enhanced landscape restoration, climate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity protection in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. A great example of how farmers can be effectively incentivized would be for all the companies that have signed up to the Cerrado Manifesto Statement of Support to materialise this commitment through funding this facility.”

The Nature Conservancy, Director of Agriculture Finance, Greg Fishbein: “RCF will create tangible climate and biodiversity impacts by offering farmers who can legally clear their forests a clear financial incentive not to do so. This is exactly the type of mechanism we envisioned when we created IFACC – one that can leverage commercial finance to support farmers in their transition to climate-friendly production models.”

The RCF complements other responsible soy production initiatives such as the Cerrado Manifesto – a commitment to reduce deforestation from soy production signed by major consumer retailers and primary production groups, and the UK Soy Manifesto. The RCF is part of the Consumer Goods Forum’s Forest Positive Coalition Portfolio of Landscape Initiatives (2021) and is a member of the Innovative Finance for the Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco (IFACC).

One on One Mentorship Initiative by Platinum Mentor at MAARG Startup India

 Shreekant Patil, who earned a platinum badge as a mentor at MAARG Startup India and MeitY has conducted a mentoring programme at his factory facility from June 1 to July 10, 2022, from 4.00 PM to 6.00 PM on a daily basis to 40 businesses to help them grow and create new ventures or startups in recent times. This initiative’s goal is to support new and small enterprises, along with startups.

He conducted one-to-one mentoring with 40 businesses, including MSME, business people, newbies, and startups, around Nashik.

Shreekant Patil listens to their challenges and offers an appropriate solution to address them. He assisted them in developing fresh points of reference, strategies for moving forward, identifying their goals, time management, finding their own direction, identifying inner strength, interests, and numerous other motivating factors. He advised them of the importance of meditation in life.

He motivated fellow mentees by explaining how his tried-and-true methods might be used with cutting-edge technology to help them build their businesses. Digital media is essential nowadays to survive and thrive in the future.

These 40 company owners are members of a famous Nashik business club. He expressed gratitude to the regional leader, Mr. Amol Kasar, for organising this initiative. Just after the mentoring was well over, all mentees expressed satisfaction and acknowledged their happiness and motivation.

A passionate entrepreneur with 28+ years of professional experience (PARENTNashik-Robotic Spot Welding Gun Parts Manufacturer & Exporter in Europe and USA), Chartered Engineer, Shreekant Patil is an official mentor at MAARG Startup India, MeitY (Govt. of India) to help startups and newbies in growing their enterprises.

For the past three years, Shreekant has been mentoring startups and giving seminars to business clubs and colleges. He started this initiative to support businesses and the nation in producing more entrepreneurs in India. He devotes most of his time to mentoring and promoting startups in India with newbies and students.

Paramount Enterprises

Ms. Sneha Patil




  • Startups

Canada – Initiative that protects Morocco’s argan forests and supports women’s economic empowerment

November 9, 2021 – Members of the media are invited to make use of a package of videos, images and quotes on a Canada-funded project that protects argan forests in Morocco.

November 9, 2021 – Members of the media are invited to make use of a package of videos, images and quotes on a Canada-funded project that protects argan forests in Morocco. 

Mélissa Harvey, an entrepreneur based in Montreal, co-founded Zorah Biocosmétiques 15 years ago when she travelled to Morocco and met with Berber women’s cooperatives that produce argan oil. Canadian cosmetics companies such as Zorah Biocosmétiques import about 10 tonnes of argan oil from Morocco annually, which is about the weight of 50,000 hockey pucks. The oil largely comes from cooperatives such as those involved in a project supported by Canada’s climate financing program. 

This project, part of Canada’s contribution to the Green Climate Fund, is focused on planting and preserving argan orchards to take pressure off argan forests. The project not only ensures climate change mitigation and adaptation, it also fosters women’s cooperatives, providing women with sustainable incomes and improving their social standing.

Some 20 percent of the surface area of argan forests has been lost over the last decade, with 500 to 600 hectares of the trees disappearing each year due to urbanization—an area larger than Stanley Park in Vancouver. The forests are also threatened due to the impact of climate change on its ability to regenerate.


This content package includes video interviews, quotes, B-roll and images from the project in Morocco and from Zorah Biocosmétiques in Montreal. The content is for non-commercial use only. 

To access the full package, media may contact: Media Relations Office

Initiative to Enhance Cooperation of China and Central Asian Countries Concludes

The 8th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum was concluded in Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China’s Gansu Province on October 17, and a joint initiative was released, aiming at more profound and practical openness and cooperation among participators.
With “Strengthen Solidarity and Cooperation for Building a Community of Security and Development” as its theme, the forum was co-hosted by the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Committee of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the People’s Government of Gansu Province.

The Forum included four sub-forums covering topics including “China-Central Asia cooperation on China’s BDS” and “green development.” A themed exhibit on China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), which can provide customized services according to the needs of different countries and industries, was also held during the event.

Representatives from China and Central Asian countries including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as international organizations, attended the forum online and in person.

Secretary-General of the SCO Vladimir Norov said the China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum is an authoritative platform for extensive exchanges between China and Central Asian countries. It helps strengthen political interaction, and deepens the relationship between all parties in ensuring regional security, and in responding to current challenges and threats. It also promotes a mutually beneficial cooperation, especially with regards to economy and trade.

“Under these conditions, cooperation in the health sector remains a priority. We propose to put environmental protection at the top of the agenda. We have actively participated in the development of the global agenda for sustainable development until 2030, and intend to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060,” said Alikhan Smailov, First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan.

Tajikistan’s ambassador to China Saidzoda Zohir pointed out that despite the various challenges of the new era, China’s economy continues to grow, and this will have a positive impact on the joint construction of a healthy, green and digital Silk Road. The volume of Chinese investment and bilateral trade with Central Asian countries has been growing steadily for two decades in a row.

The volume of accumulated direct Chinese investments in five countries of the region amounted to about $15 billion in 2020. “A new stage in the advancement of the Belt and Road may be the alignment “point” of China’s development programs with the national strategies of the Central Asian countries,” Saidzoda Zohir added.

In a first of its kind initiative, PM to interact with Heads of Indian Missions abroad and stakeholders of the trade & commerce sector on 6th August

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will interact with Heads of Indian Missions abroad along with stakeholders of the trade & commerce sector of the country on 6 August, 2021 at 6 PM, via video conferencing. The event will mark a clarion call by the Prime Minister for ‘Local Goes Global – Make in India for the World’.

Exports have a huge employment generation potential, especially for MSMEs and high labour-intensive sectors, with a cascading effect on the manufacturing sector and the overall economy. The purpose of the interaction is to provide a focussed thrust to leverage and expand India’s export and its share in global trade.

The interaction aims to energise all stakeholders towards expanding our export potential and utilizing the local capabilities to fulfil the global demand.

Union Commerce Minister and External Affairs Minister will also be present during the interaction. The interaction will also witness participation of Secretaries of more than twenty departments, state government officials, members of Export Promotion Councils and Chambers of Commerce.



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