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Decoupling China's soy imports from deforestation driven carbon emissions in Brazil

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Brazil is a leading source of soy for global markets, and China is Brazil’s biggest customer. This briefing uses Trase and company data reported to CDP to explore how this relationship exposes China to climate risks arising from the deforestation linked to soy expansion. We assess the carbon dioxide emissions linked to China’s soy imports and identify the key companies involved. The briefing highlights key risks and opportunities and puts forward recommendations for the parties involved.

  • China is the largest market for Brazilian soy. Between 2010 and 2017, China’s soy imports from Brazil increased 170%. In 2017, nearly 65% of all the soy exported from Brazil went to China.
  • Over 70% of the carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions risk2 from deforestation related to China’s imports of Brazilian soy is concentrated in the Matopiba region, home to the Cerrado, the world’s most biodiverse savannah.
  • Chinese companies and government can play a role in supporting existing international, national and sub-national efforts in Brazil towards deforestation-free soy and in doing so, China can reduce the CO2 emissions risks linked to its soy imports as well as its long-term food security risks. This presents an opportunity for China to demonstrate leadership in driving deforestation-free agriculture policies globally
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