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Collaboration – the road to zero deforestation soy

Global soy roundtable says mutual understanding, partnership working, and utilising existing tools and initiatives is the key to achieving zero deforestation and conversion goals.

Vice-president of the global Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) told the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership meeting that ongoing work to catalyse Europe-wide action on zero deforestation and conversion of forests and natural vegetation must incorporate and work with existing partnerships and standards to scale up the expected deliverables.

Juliana de Lavor Lopes is RTRS Vice-president and the Sustainability, Communications and Compliance Director for Amaggi, the brazil-based commodities company that is one of the largest soybean producers in the world. At a panel session at the Netherlands-based conference today (13 June), she outlined how RTRS believes that actions from government and multilateral associations should aim to work in very close collaboration with existing multi-stakeholder structures rather than creating or fostering new ones, as a key approach in halting the destruction of global ecosystems and social issues.

She says:

“We see many initiatives and they are sometimes very similar, delivering almost the same results. The ideal solution would be to be able to analyse all of the initiatives that are already there, and use the findings and learnings to scale up our approach so we can deliver sustainable zero deforestation supply chains.”

RTRS welcomes and endorses the role of Amsterdam Declarations (ADP) in making efforts towards deforestation-free sustainable commodities and the work performed with the European Commission.

In 2018, the signatories of the ADP against imported deforestation identified RTRS´s Zero Deforestation and Zero Conversion Production Standard as one of the schemes that best meets the deforestation-free goals.

RTRS as global platform and certification scheme is part of the solution. The RTRS´s holistic certification scheme is a tool to deliver the global commitments, by which soy can be certified zero deforestation and zero conversion.

“If Europe want producer countries to deliver more sustainable soy, we need to act now”, Juliana explained. “There are many discussions on public policies and initiatives involving governments, but we need to act now because if we don’t it will be too late. We have to work together on a combined approach. Now there are tools available, provided by RTRS among many others, that are helping us to work on supply chains to deliver sustainable soy, at the same time as discussing wider policies.”

RTRS encourages collaborative work with other associations, initiatives and protocols, to discuss, together with governments and the private sector, ways to provide benefits and support to producers and organisations who strive for sustainability.

The meeting of the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership in Utrecht comes immediately after the RTRS global conference RT14, which was the largest in the organisation’s history, welcoming over 270 senior representatives from every part of the soy value chain including growers’ representatives from Europe, South America and Africa.

Juliana continued: “Being a multi-stakeholder organisation we have learned that we need to work together and this is a huge week for responsible commodities. Working together is difficult because we have different views, but indeed the results we have reached so far are very good. The challenge is to make sure we scale up but we stand ready to play our part.”

 

Notes.

The Amsterdam Declarations were launched in 2015 alongside the Paris Climate Agreement and to build on the New York Declaration on Forests. With an overall commitment to zero deforestation, sustainable commodities, the Partnership is based around declarations signed by Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. it is currently being chaired by the government of the Netherlands.

Currently 85-90% of the soy used across Europe is not verified deforestation-free according to the European Soy Monitor.

The Round Table on Responsible Soy was formed in 2006 in Switzerland by founding organisations that included Grupo Maggi, Cordaid, COOP, WWF, Fetrauf-Sul and Unilever. In 2010 it established the first version of the RTRS Standard and by June 2011, the first producers had already been certified in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. 2018 was a strong year of growth for RTRS with 2.8 million tons of certified soy being sold, a 28% growth increase on the previous year’s total. Currently RTRS has 180 members from major global brands, to traders, processors, growers and non-governmental organisations.

Juliana de Lavor Lopes  is currently responsible for the Department of Sustainability of Amaggi. She joined the Group in January 2006, as Coordinator of Social Development. In 2009, she was promoted to a managerial position. In 2013, she became Director of Sustainability of Grupo André Maggi. She graduated from Universidade Estácio de Sá, with a degree in International Relations, and a major in Strategic Business Administration from UNESA/RJ, and an MBE in Social Responsibility and the Third Sector (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro).