Esclarecimentos de empresas citadas em reportagem sobre soja em áreas desmatadas comprada pela Cofco

Investigação foi resultado de parceria entre a Repórter Brasil e a Rainforest Investigations Network, do Pulitzer Center



As perguntas enviadas incluíam questionamentos sobre as operações de óleo de palma da Cofco na Indonésia. Por não ser o foco da investigação conduzida pela Repórter Brasil, as menções a esse setor foram retiradas das perguntas e respostas apresentadas acima. A reportagem, em inglês, que inclui os casos de óleo de palma, pode ser lida na Mongabay.

Cofco International has received three sustainability-linked loans for a total of $4.6 billion dollars, tied to targets related to combating deforestation in its soy and palm oil supply chains, as well as improving its overall ESG score.  What targets were included in each of those loans?

COFCO International’s total sustainability-linked loan commitments are at $2.3 billion. The total amount is not 4.6B as one replaces the other as it expires. More details here:

Specifically, can you share the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each of the three SLLs that Cofco has received, including the benchmarks required to receive the financial incentives?

KPIs are confidential. As per the announcement, they relate to achieving pre-agreed sustainability targets covering the traceability and socio-environmental screening of our Brazil soy supplies and Sustainalytics’ ESG Management Score. 

What were the incentives included in Cofco International’s SLLs? How much are interest rates reduced if it achieves the KPIs? Does it face a penalty if it fails to achieve the KPIs, and if so, what is the penalty?

This information is confidential.

Can you share the contract for each of the SLLs that Cofco has received?

This information is confidential.

Cofco International purchased soybeans in February 2021 from Lazarotto’s Fazenda União (Tapurah – MT), according to fiscal notes. The sale was intermediated by Nutrade Comercial Exportadora. In an interview in September 2022, Lazarotto told us that Cofco was his second largest buyer of soybeans. Satellite images show Lazarotto cleared 650 hectares of native vegetation on his farm in 2017. These images also show that he cultivated soybeans in the deforested area, which Lazarotto confirmed in our interview. The area was cleared legally, but the deforestation is a violation of the Soy Moratorium. As a signatory to the Soy Moratorium, why has Cofco continued to purchase soybeans from Lazarotto?

We have not purchased any products from the farm you mention having the clearance issue. 

In our interview with Lazarotto, he said that Amaggi Group had required him to separate the soy grown in the recently deforested area in a different warehouse to ensure that it was not sold to Amaggi. He said that Cofco did not require him to make any changes in his practices as a result of the forests that he cleared in 2018. Does Cofco have any comment on the information shared by Lazarotto?

COFCO International adopts a series of measures to mitigate social and environmental risks on its supply chain, for instance, automatic blocking on purchase system, satellite image assessments, in loco monitoring, engagement with suppliers. Moreover, we reaffirm that COFCO have not purchased any products from the farm you mention having the clearance issue. 

Cofco International purchased soybeans from Uggeri Agropecuária in March 2021, according to fiscal notes, a sale intermediated by Nutrade Comercial Exportadora. Agropecuria Uggeri owns Fazenda Ranchão (Nova Mutum – MT), which was embargoed in 2015 by Sema-MT for illegal deforestation that exceeded the limits of the permit it had received. Satellite images show that Fazenda Ranchão cultivated soybeans within the embargoed area. Why did Cofco continue to purchase from Uggeri Agropecuária under these circumstances?

COFCO International did not purchase any products from the embargoed area, or via the intermediary.

Our analysis, which includes assessments by experts who reviewed the cases above, has identified numerous violations of Cofco International’s sustainability policies. Among the policies violated in these cases are the Code of Conduct, Supplier Code of Conduct, Sustainable Soy Sourcing Policy and the Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Policy. Does Cofco have any comment on these findings?

Please refer to the answers above for specific comments on each case.

The experts consulted said the cases above raised significant concerns about Cofco International’s implementation and enforcement of its sustainability policies. What mechanisms does Cofco have in place to monitor and enforce compliance with its sustainability policies?

COFCO did not have access to the expert concerns mentioned; therefore, it´s not possible to argue against it. As described in our policies, COFCO International counts with a set of different practices to monitor and enforce compliance:

  1. Automatic controls established in our purchase systems to block operations with suppliers who are related to social and environmental risks, which are only allowed (or not) to proceed after Sustainability department assessment.
  2. Social and environmental risk assessment on farms through satellite images, based on risk approach.
  3. We undergo external audits annually: Soy Moratorium, Para Protocol, traceability and socio-environmental screening of direct supplies of Brazilian soy for the Sustainability Linked Loan KPIs. We also conduct internal audits every month to guarantee our policies and commitments are being properly implemented.
  4. All related internal departments also undergo mandatory training. COFCO International also engages its suppliers for capacity building and to help them improve their sustainability practices. On critical cases, if a producer is out of compliance, but willing and able to become compliant with our policies, COFCO International can help build an action plan. The producer will be able to operate with COFCO International only after the plan is fully implemented. 

Experts raised concerns that Cofco International’s policies were not clear in spelling out the company’s obligations in the case of noncompliance by its suppliers. Does Cofco International commit to suspending or terminating business relations with companies that violate its policies, or is the response to noncompliance voluntary on the part of Cofco International?

Please see the answer regarding this question on Cofco´s Supplier Code of Conduct. COFCO did not have access to the expert concerns mentioned; therefore, it´s not possible to argue against it. General Principles stipulated in this Code apply to all our suppliers, while Additional Principles apply to our agricultural commodity suppliers. We expect them to uphold and respect these Principles and to disseminate and educate their employees, agents and sub-tier suppliers on the content of these Principles. Should a supplier fail to comply with these Principles, COFCO International reserves the right to demand corrective measures to promptly rectify any such failure, which may lead to remedial measures, including for example immediate termination of business relationship without the payment of any indemnity for early termination. 

Experts raised concerns that Cofco International’s policies delegate responsibility for the oversight of indirect suppliers to its own direct suppliers. Does Cofco International commit to conducting due diligence on its indirect suppliers?

COFCO did not have access to the expert concerns mentioned; therefore, it´s not possible to argue against it.  The oversight of indirect suppliers is not delegated to our direct suppliers, instead, COFCO International understands this responsibility is shared among the players of the chain. COFCO International’s efforts towards indirect suppliers include periodic engagement and training sessions with the most representative ones in high-risk areas, supporting them to apply the same social and environmental criteria from CIL policies. We also implemented a Portal dedicated to suppliers, through which we incentivize our suppliers to submit farms for a free social and environmental risk assessment. Additionally, we work with sectorial forums like ABIOVE and SCF, who have dedicated work streams to develop solutions for indirect suppliers, including engagement, diagnosis and action plan for improvement on sustainability.

Experts said the cases raised concerns about the ambition of Cofco International’s sustainability-linked loans. Do the KPIs on these loans include reducing or eliminating deforestation from Cofco International’s supply chains? If not, how ambitious are the loans in terms of bringing about concrete changes in the company’s performance?

COFCO did not have access to the expert concerns mentioned; therefore, it´s not possible to argue against it. Moreover, more details on the loans can be found on the answer provided to the first question and press release. COFCO International has also committed to take collective action on a sectorial roadmap for enhanced supply chain action consistent with a 1.5 degrees pathway. More details can be found here.


Uma segunda rodada de perguntas foi feita, adicionando documentos que comprovam a relação comercial entre a COFCO e as fazendas de soja mencionadas na investigação. Os questionamentos e respostas foram os que seguem:

How does Cofco International explain these documents [case João Luiz Lazarotto] and the statements by Lazarotto? If the grain Cofco International purchased did not come from Fazenda União, can you provide documentation showing its origin?

Please be aware that in Mato Grosso State – Brazil, farms owned by individuals in the same municipality are under the same State Tax Number. This is why you will see different areas under those same registrations. Those areas are possible to differentiate by the CAR (Cadastro Ambiental Rural) number, as per our comments below.  

It is possible to demonstrate, through satellite images, that the product received by COFCO International was produced in the regular area (Fazenda União I), since the other area (Fazenda União II) only started harvesting in April/21 and our contract with Lazarotto via Nutrade was 100% received in February/21.

This analysis is even endorsed by the Agrosatélite report made at the request of ABIOVE, which shows the area of Fazenda União II with soy in an atypical period (harvest in April).

CAR code of Fazenda União I: MT-5108006-FF3DCF12BA03489A9E3DD35D815C3D49

CAR code of Fazenda União II: MT-5108006-782B9981096E439BBC77F56AE426A706

How does Cofco International explain these documents [case Uggeri Agropecuária]? Why does Cofco International state that it did not purchase products from the embargoed area, and can the company document the origin of the products purchased in the attached contract?

Fazenda Ranchão is composed of several registrations divided between 3 different CARs. We sourced commodities from Fazenda Ranchão under registry number 691, which has no illegal issues.  

Furthermore, this farm is in the Cerrado, not Amazon biome. Please see our initiatives regarding our commitments here PowerPoint Presentation (

Fazenda Ranchão M691: MT-5106224-17749ABEB10D4E11BBEAC5490893E15F

Fazenda Ranchão M698: MT-5106224-2F1ACC06581349B8A236790D20C56726

Fazenda Ranchão M695 696 700: MT-5106224-EB4D1F62AACC45EFBB7F1D19968C9F98

All the cases above relate to indirect purchases. Currently, we are working to increase traceability of indirect purchases, which will lead us to strengthen our controls and risk monitoring for this part of the supply chain. For that, we have a set of internal goals and actions to reach this number as external commitments, including engagement, digital solutions, and sectorial initiatives. The implementation of these initiatives is based on risk approach, starting on regions with higher risk. While this topic is a priority, please note that palm oil and indirect suppliers of soybeans are not included in our last loan KPIs as public disclosure. Besides that, for all cases, a productivity analysis was made.


The CAR document is the evidence you are requesting, and we didn’t change our response regarding Lazarotto. Our answer has always been that we bought from União I, which is the farm with no clearance issue. We can differentiate both farms (União I and União II) by the CAR document, as we have already shared.


O Brasil tem um dos Códigos Florestais mais rígidos em vigor no mundo hoje. Ele visa proteger as áreas cobertas por vegetação nativa e é um modelo de como a produção agrícola e a conservação podem coexistir em uma mesma área.

A Nutrade opera sob os mais altos padrões e condena duramente o desmatamento ilegal. Por meio de condições contratuais em nossos acordos comerciais, exigimos que nossos clientes comprovem o cumprimento com as exigências do CAR (Cadastro Ambiental Rural). Também demandamos que declarem seu completo cumprimento das regulamentações ambientais aplicáveis, e verificamos essas informações nas listas de embargos do IBAMA ao fecharmos esses contratos. A Nutrade tem o compromisso de operar apenas com empresas que apliquem os mais altos padrões de compliance.

Não estamos em posição de comentar em nome da COFCO. Também não discutiremos detalhes específicos sobre nossos clientes em função das cláusulas de confidencialidade em nossos contratos. No entanto, podemos atestar que no momento em que as negociações com Nutrade foram estabelecidas, todas as exigências listadas acima foram cumpridas.

Sustentabilidade é uma alta prioridade para os agricultores no Brasil. Eles reconhecem que quando a agricultura é sustentável, existem benefícios claros em atender às demandas dos consumidores – sejam eles domésticos ou internacionais, bem como benefícios tangíveis na forma de aumento da produtividade e na redução de custos operacionais.

Estamos aqui para apoiar os agricultores em suas mais variadas necessidades, e oferecer a eles alternativas que aumentem a sustentabilidade em suas áreas por meio de protocolos, soluções, mecanismos de financiamento, acesso ao mercado e tecnologias, incluindo ferramentas digitais.  

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

Thanks for your request. We cannot provide you with any information about the relationship with our clients unless it is public information. Please find below the information publicly available regarding our activity with COFCO.

BBVA’s debut as sustainability coordinator in Asia with COFCO International

BBVA accompanies COFCO International on its second syndicated sustainability-linked facility

BBVA leads a new sustainability-linked loan of Chinese agribusiness giant COFCO International

Additionally we can confirm that BBVA has in place an Environmental and Social Framework (last updated October 2022). Since its publication, the framework affects new clients and new financing projects in a range of industries. The latest version of the framework prohibits the financing of new agribusiness projects (as defined by the Framework) intended to be implemented in high impact areas: “Projects in key biodiversity areas of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Brazilian Amazon and the El Cerrado region.” To ensure that the Environmental and Social Framework is enforced effectively, BBVA operates a due diligence procedure based on analysis by an independent ESG expert, and has a specific procedure in place for the approval of wholesale finance transactions subject to the Equator Principles.

ABIOVE (Associação Brasileira das Indústrias de Óleos Vegetais)

O produtor João Lazarotto está na lista de exclusão da Moratória da Soja? Desde quando? Se não está, qual o motivo?

O produtor João Luiz Lazarotto, atualmente, não se encontra na lista da Moratória da Soja. Com base no monitoramento realizado pelo Grupo de Trabalho da Soja (GTS), grupo que coordena o pacto da Moratória, formado por representantes do setor privado, da sociedade civil e do Governo, não havia plantio de soja na área de PRODES 2018 presente na propriedade até a safra 2021. Até então, a área se destinava ao plantio de arroz.

Entretanto, há indícios que o produtor produziu soja não conforme na safra 2022 e 2023. Caso confirmado, ele passará a constar na Moratória da Soja a partir deste ano, momento no qual as operações de soja com este produtor serão bloqueadas no sistema de compra de todas as associadas à ABIOVE e à ANEC que operam no Bioma Amazônia.

O desmatamento foi detectado pelo Prodes em 2018. Ainda assim, o produtor seguiu comercializando soja com signatárias da Moratória, como Cofco e Amaggi. Como se justifica essa demora na inclusão de produtores na lista de exclusão?

Não há demora na inclusão de produtores na lista. Conforme explicado anteriormente, o produtor não se encontra na última lista da Moratória, pois não havia plantio de soja na área de PRODES 2018 na última safra, não ferindo o critério do pacto.

A Moratória da Soja se trata de um pacto de não comercializar soja oriunda de áreas desmatadas após 22 de julho de 2008, sem distinção entre desmatamento autorizado ou não, ou seja, desmatamento zero para soja no Bioma Amazônia.

Sendo assim, o produtor é considerado não conforme no âmbito do pacto quando é identificado plantio de soja em um ou mais polígonos de desflorestamento mapeados pelo PRODES/INPE em sua(s) propriedade(s) após julho de 2008.

Entretanto, as empresas associadas à ABIOVE e à ANEC, inclusive as supracitadas, aplicam rigorosos critérios socioambientais antes de seguir com qualquer originação, de forma a garantirem regularidade legal e jurídica de suas operações, mesmo quando um produtor não se encontra na lista da Moratória.

Em relação à afirmação sobre a comercialização com as associadas, as mesmas já demonstraram, por meio de notas individuais, a regularidade de suas operações. 

No caso da Amaggi, o produtor afirmou que a empresa pediu para separar a soja da área desmatada em 2018 do restante da produção. Em visita à fazenda, foi possível perceber que apenas uma estreita faixa de terra separa a Fazenda União I da Fazenda União II. Um relatório publicado em novembro pela Repórter Brasil mostra imagens de satélite que evidenciam a proximidade das duas áreas [ver página 19]. Qual é a orientação do GTS nesses casos? É possível ter clareza da origem da soja? O GTS se preocupa com o risco de “contaminação” da soja de áreas desmatadas recentemente no bioma?

Assim como mencionado anteriormente, a Amaggi publicou nota de esclarecimento, publicada pela própria Repórter Brasil em matéria anterior, sobre a regularidade da operação da empresa. 

Sobre o questionamento quanto à “contaminação de áreas próximas”, uma das prioridades do GTS é o monitoramento quanto às possíveis “triangulações” de soja. Apesar das dificuldades para controlar esta situação, as empresas signatárias adotam procedimentos aplicados rotineiramente às suas operações de compra e/ou financiamento que permitem reduzir significativamente este risco.

Estes procedimentos, baseados na legislação ambiental brasileira, são submetidos a auditorias independentes anuais e o compliance das empresas é avaliado pela sociedade civil, o que gera bastante credibilidade aos resultados obtidos e faz da Moratória da Soja um mecanismo eficiente e transparente.

Uma última pergunta, para confirmar uma questão: em casos de desmatamento numa propriedade de soja no bioma amazônico após 2008, apenas a área desmatada é bloqueada para fornecer o grão para signatários do acordo (como é o caso da orientação da Amaggi ao produtor João Lazarotto) ou toda a fazenda fica bloqueada? Qual a interpretação correta nesse caso.

Como mencionado anteriormente, o caso da Amaggi trata-se de uma área com embargo estadual, que possui procedimentos e especificidades próprios para serem tratados pelas empresas, saindo do âmbito da Moratória. Adicionalmente, ratificamos que a empresa já se posicionou em nota individual quanto à regularidade da operação.

A ABIOVE desconhece qualquer orientação às suas associadas para bloqueio apenas de área desmatada no âmbito da Moratória da Soja, uma vez que a não conformidade é aplicada à toda a área de soja da fazenda, diferentemente do que ocorre em caso de embargos por órgãos ambientais, conforme legislação vigente.

Leia a reportagem completa Gigante chinesa recebe bilhões para garantir soja sustentável no Brasil, mas compra de desmatadores



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