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2023 Sustainability Report - Raising Sustainability Ambitions

COFCO International today publishes its 2023 Sustainability Report, raising its level of ambition with a new sustainability strategy and disclosing its progress on the environmental, social, and governance issues that matter most to its business and stakeholders.

“As a major agricultural commodity trader, we have an opportunity to help transform the food system, empower people, protect the environment and improve farmer livelihoods through sustainable agriculture,” says David Dong, CEO of COFCO International. “This work is central to our mission to feed the world responsibly and helps to promote global food security.  This mission has never been more important, with food production increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather and water scarcity, and people worldwide struggling to achieve good nutrition.”

The company’s revised sustainability strategy reflects how it will address the material topics defined through its latest double materiality assessment, of which the most important are preventing deforestation and conversion, climate action and respecting human rights.

In 2023, the company strengthened its efforts to achieve deforestation-free soy supply chains by 2025 and conversion-free soy supply chains in sensitive regions of South America by 2030.  Further, it has developed science-based climate targets to form the foundation for its new climate strategy, and taken steps to reinforce human rights due diligence.

Elsewhere, the business has met the supply chain traceability and socio-environmental risk targets under its two sustainability-linked loans and received an industry-leading Sustainalytics ESG score. It also remains closely involved in collaborative industry initiatives to address shared climate and deforestation challenges, including the Agriculture Sector Roadmap to 1.5°C and the Soft Commodities Forum. As part of its contribution to the World Economic Forum's Green Value Chain Taskforce, the company has forged the first agreement to supply deforestation-free soy beans from Brazil to China.

“I am committed to working closely with farmers, partners and customers to increase the demand for sustainable products around the world,” says Dong. “We must build on the progress we have made to ensure that a strong market for responsibly produced, deforestation-free commodities helps to drive further action on the ground, as we strive to take our ambitions to the next level.”

Through this report, progress is shared against the three core areas of COFCO International’s updated sustainability strategy: protecting the earth, empowering people and championing values. The report also explores challenges and opportunities for improvement, and shares progress towards implementing this strategy.

2023 highlights include:

  • Developed near-term, science-based GHG emission reduction targets. 
  • Set time-bound goal for deforestation-free soy supply chains by 2025 and conversion-free soy-supply chains by 2030 in sensitive regions of Latin America. 
  • Full traceability to farm achieved for directly sourced soybean in Brazil. 
  • 22% year-on-year reduction in water intensity of industrial operations, surpassing its 2025 target ahead of time. 
  • 82% of waste recycled, reused, composted or recovered, with over 13,400 m³ of demolition waste reused in the construction of the STS11 port terminal in Santos, Brazil. 
  • 42% of its total coffee exports were certified or verified as sustainable. 
  • 213,000 tonnes of soybean sourced through the Social Fuel Stamp programme supported around 45,000 smallholders’ access to market. 
  • 5,150 students engaged in its Guardians of Tomorrow programme in Brazil, which was also expanded to Argentina. 
  • 0 fatalities and 51% reduction in the lost-time injury frequency rate for employees. 
  • ≤1.5 Safety Index target achieved for employees and contractors. 
  • 48% increase in employee learning hours, compared to 2022. 
  • 24% increase in employee learning time dedicated to business ethics and policies. 

COFCO International’s 2023 Sustainability Report has been prepared according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. It provides a summary of the company’s contribution towards specific targets of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and explains how its sustainability efforts support the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards. 

The report is available here:

About COFCO International

With more than 11,799 people in 36 countries, COFCO International is the overseas agriculture business platform for COFCO Corporation, China's largest food and agriculture company. COFCO International is focused on being a leader in the global grains, oilseeds, sugar, coffee and cotton supply chains, with assets across the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The company trades with over 50 nations, while providing farmers unique direct access to the growing Chinese market. In 2023, COFCO International sales volumes to third parties reached 121.7 million tonnes of commodities, achieving revenues of USD 50.1 billion. The company is accelerating its growth to create a world-class integrated global agriculture supply chain, anchored in China and competing globally.

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