After the oceans, soil is the world’s second-largest carbon store. The loss of soil fertility reduces the function of soil as a greenhouse gas reservoir – and therefore has an impact on global warming. Intensive agriculture increases the loss of soil fertility. The intensive use of agricultural land also has a negative impact on soil structure: it can leave soil unable to fulfil its important habitat functions. Natural cycles are disturbed, and precipitation damage increases. Soil degradation – the destruction of the soil – is a creeping process that is often not noticed until it is too late.
Supplying the world's growing population with the food it needs depends crucially on the quality and fertility of land in agricultural use. We are therefore committed to agriculture that preserves soil fertility, sees biodiversity in soils as the foundation of life, and retains the carbon stored in them.
As a result of the decline in soil fertility, land all over the world that was previously untouched is being opened up – and forests and other natural ecosystems are being converted to usable land. To reduce use-related damage to tropical soils, we are committed to ensuring that our supply chains are no longer exposed to deforestation and conversion risks by 2026. For more information about our position on soil and our commitment to its conservation, see our Soil policy paper.