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New version of the RTRS Soy Production Standard – approved

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Approved by consensus of RTRS members in Brasilia, Brazil, during the 11th RTRS Annual Conference. It is a robust, innovative standard, which will allow producers to certify zero deforestation.

In the framework of 11th RTRS Annual Conference, RTRS members approved, in their General Assembly, on June 02, 2016, in Brasilia, Brazil, the 3.0 version of the RTRS Soy Production Standard. This new version is the result of RTRS continuous improvement process and commitment to represent the different opinions and needs of its multi-stakeholder members.

The revised production standard is specifically designed to deliver and promote continuous improvements in biodiversity conservation and in community and labor relations.

Among several significant improvements, we can highlight the following topics of this 3.0 version:

  • Is clearer, easier and economically viable to implement

The concept of High Conservation Value (HCV) is integrated throughout the 3.0 standard, but HCV Area assessments are no longer required, which will make the standard economically accessible to producers. This allows them to easily identify if certification is possible, without having first to conduct a HCV area assessment.

  • Enables RTRS to certify zero deforestation.

From June 3rd 2016, no conversion of any natural land, steep slopes and areas designated by law to serve the purpose of native conservation and/or cultural and social protection is allowed.

The areas of Category 1 (red area) on the maps, as well as all areas with native forests, wetlands and riparian zones in places where no map is available, remain protected from 2009 under the new criteria in the standard.

On the other hand, producers who converted Category 2 areas  (yellow area) on the maps between 2009 and 3rd June 2016, that couldn’t enter certification before without an HCV assessment, are now eligible to certifiy. This means that a significant number of hectares and producers will be potentially able to enter certification being in complience with the standard that requires Zero Deforestation.

The RTRS principles and criteria is the only multistakeholder standard that guarantees zero deforestation in responsible soy production.

Zero Deforestation incentivizes environmental management improvements and the reduction of some environmental impacts; it also promotes initiatives aimed to optimize the land use, for example, technology development, and research and innovation investments, among others.

  • Improves principles and criteria that positively impact social and labor conditions, and makes smallholder certification viable.

Version 3.0 of the RTRS production standard has introduced new terms and specifications, which improve implementation in labor and social conditions and community relations. For example, issues such as fair labor conditions and community relations; provision of safe and healthy workplace; outsourced workers; local and/or traditional land users; mechanisms to resolve complaints, etc.

The new version of the standard also promotes smallholder certification, introducing exceptions to make it easier for smallholders to achieve it. .

About the revision process

The full standard review process, which has considered the mandatory review periods established in the RTRS Responsible Soy Production Standard, has included three public consultations, with over 250 comments from various stakeholders that were analyzed and discussed by the “Review Technical Working Group” during an 11-month process during 2015. This Review Technical Working Group is representative of all the stakeholders in the soy value chain. Their role is crucial to get all the perspectives together and reach consensus through open debate. This is the third version after the former two in 2010 and 2013.

The result is a robust, innovative production standard, which will allow producers to address the increasing sustainability challenges in a responsible way.

There will be a transition period where producers willing to enter certification will be able to use the new version, as from November 2016, while the producers that are already certified will have up to 12 months to adjust to the new requirements. This will allow certification bodies and producers sufficient time for training and adjusting to the changes of the standard.

The RTRS will calibrate the Progressive Entry Level and make it available for producers and certification bodies. The RTRS Soy Production Standard 3.0 Version is available online on RTRS website and will be binding for all producers and certification bodies from June 02, 2017.

 June 2016