Scenarios for reduced import dependence for oil and protein seeds

Our consumption habits influence what is grown, where and under what conditions. Many of the products we use in our daily lives contain oil or protein seeds that have to be imported from other regions of the world. Their cultivation in the producing regions is often associated with negative effects such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity, conflicts with indigenous peoples or poor working conditions. At the same time, the demand for oilseeds and protein crops is increasing, which exacerbates these problems.


To address these issues, WWF Germany commissioned a study to assess the impact of different climate protection options on the demand for imported oilseeds and protein crops. The first step was to provide an overview of the crops and seeds analysed. Factsheets are used to summarise relevant information as a basis for the next steps and to gain a good understanding of the crops studied.

As many of the oil and protein crops mentioned are not cultivated in Germany, or not in significant quantities, the global area required for our consumption of soya, oil palm, sunflower, rapeseed and coconut was determined. This was used to model various scenarios and their effects on land requirements. In addition to reducing meat consumption based on the Lancet Planetary Health Diet (PHD) recommendations, the study also emphasises the impact of reducing food waste and phasing out the use of palm oil for biofuel production. It also looks at substitution options, recommendations on the feasibility of growing local oilseeds and provides an overview of relevant policies that could have an impact on the oil and protein crops mentioned above. The report aims to show that by switching our consumption, we can limit the negative impact on foreign countries while reducing our dependence on imports.