Founded in 1949 as a single grain importer and exporter, today COFCO is one of the world's largest suppliers of agri-products, operating through multiple subsidiaries across 140 countries. The group has activities across much of the value chain, including grains and oilseeds, sugar, beverages, livestock and dairy, and holds leading market positions both domestically and internationally, the latter due to subsidiary COFCO International which traded 106 million tonnes of product in 2019. In China alone, COFCO has an integrated processing capacity of more than 60 million tonnes and operates 2.3 million terminal point sales in 952 cities and 10,000 counties and villages across the country.

Baseline assessment

Environment

Started the journey

Nutrition

Room for improvement

Social inclusion

Started the journey

Summary

COFCO publicly discloses a number of environmental and social commitments through its subsidiary COFCO International, but very little evidence was found of recent commitments at the group level. Through its environmental policy and supplier code of conduct, COFCO International is committed to improving soil health and minimising fertiliser and pesticide use. It is also committed to sustainably sourcing its high-risk commodities such as soya and palm oil and discloses its targets to minimise operational water use by 2025. While it also discloses its GHG emissions, the company is yet to set a time-bound reduction target. Furthermore, no evidence was found of commitments to reduce food loss and minimise packaging waste. As an agricultural trader, the company has less impact on nutrition issues compared to companies involved in the manufacturing of consumer products. It is committed to food safety through third-party certifications but lacks disclosure on a commitment to promote workforce nutrition. In the social inclusion dimension, COFCO International is committed to eliminating child and forced labour across its own operations and supply chain. It is also committed to ensuring the health and safety of its employees and workers in the supply chain and to respecting land tenure rights. It is involved in a number of programmes aimed at improving smallholder productivity, for instance through technical training and support for sustainable farming practices in Vietnam and promoting the inclusion of smallholders in its soya supply chain. However, no living wage commitment was found.

Food and Agriculture Benchmark

The Food and Agriculture Benchmark will assess 350 keystone companies on the issues underpinning the food system transformation agenda. The benchmark’s aim is to stimulate companies to apply sustainable business practices throughout their operations as well as use their influence to encourage value chain partners to do the same. WBA has organised the food and agriculture value chain into six sub-sectors. These sub-sectors are also reflected in the methodology framework.

Food and agriculture revenue
n/a
Food and agriculture revenue USD
n/a
Onwnership structure
State-owned
Number of employees
117,842

Value chain sub-sectors

Other benchmarks

The company is also included in the following benchmarks developed by WBA and our Allies. These benchmarks help to deepen our understanding on key issues and industries.