ADM Commits to No-Deforestation Policy for Soybeans, Palm Oil

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., a global supplier of agricultural commodities, has pledged to curb deforestation that results from the farming of soybeans and palm trees.

ADM is committing to developing ways to trace crops it processes, make those supply chains transparent and protect forests globally, according to Victoria Podesta, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company.

The policy “combines a clear commitment to no deforestation with progressive action focused on our most critical supply chains,” Podesta said Monday in an e-mailed statement.

The policy for soy production is the first for that crop, said Lucia von Reusner, an activist for Boston-based Green Century Capital Management Inc., a mutual fund manager that focuses on sustainability. Suppliers representing about 96 percent of globally traded palm oil already have adopted such measures, Green Century said in a statement Tuesday.

Green Century said it had teamed up with the New York State Common Retirement Fund to push ADM to implement the policy. In the past year, Green Century has helped spur food manufacturers including Kellogg Co., JM Smucker Co. and ConAgra Foods Inc. to only purchase palm oil from sources committed to no deforestation.

Expanding soybean farming is a leading driver of deforestation and degradation of ecosystems in the Amazon rainforest and the Gran Chaco forest in South America, according to Green Century. Clearing forests for farming destroys the ecosystems that agriculture depends on and poses threats to global food security and the climate, von Reusner said.

Wilmar International Ltd., the world’s biggest palm oil trader, announced its own no-deforestation policy in December

2013. ADM owns an 18 percent stake in Wilmar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.