Soybean Coverage

Often called the “King of Beans, soybeans are one of the only plant-based protein sources with nine essential amino acids and serve as an important source of protein for both humans and animals, with 85% of global supply becoming animal feed. 

Since the 1960s, growth in the global population and demand for meat has driven exponential growth in the sector. In 2017, global production totaled 340 million tonnes, with a retail value of USD 146 billion. The overall market is expected to grow to USD 214 billion by 2025. 

While soybeans will continue to be an important commodity for the foreseeable future, the sector faces critical sustainability challenges related to deforestation, biodiversity loss, excessive use of herbicides, and human rights violations.  

Voluntary sustainability standards can play a role in achieving sustainability in the sector by encouraging producers to prevent deforestation, enhance ecosystem rehabilitation, and protect rare and threatened species affected by soybean production. They also promote practices that protect basic labour rights and support decent working conditions.  

View Report

Key Takeaways

USD 214 billion

By 2025, the soybean market is expected to have a retail value of USD 214 billion. 


Three countries account for 80% of soybean production: the United States, Brazil, and Argentina. 


Only 1.8% of soybeans are grown in compliance with voluntary sustainability standards according to data reported by the Round Table on Responsible Soy, Proterra Foundation, and Organic.

131 million

Soybean crops occupy 131 million hectares of land, mostly (80%) controlled by large-scale, private operators.