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RTRS: Updates on COVID-19

Dear RTRS Members & Stakeholders,

All of us who are part of the Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) working team sincerely hope you, your loved ones and colleagues are safe and well.

Given the current state of alert in the different countries where the RTRS is present, we would like to update you on the decisions made by the Executive Board in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In compliance with the recommendations and indications of government authorities and local and international organizations, RTRS considered and developed different actions so that our operations as Secretariat, as a global multi-stakeholder organization and as a certification scheme can proceed as efficiently as possible in this context.

Here follows a detailed description of each of them.

Secretariat Operations

Like many other organizations, we canceled all international and domestic traveling. Furthermore, we have adopted the “home office” methodology for both our Secretariat staff in Zurich, Switzerland, and in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Please note that, as usual, you can reach specific areas and teams by email at:

RTRS General Assembly 2020| GA14

Being the RTRS General Assembly (GA) of members the highest decision-making level event, the Executive Board members, together with the Secretariat, have thoroughly monitored the developments on the novel coronavirus outbreak situation in order to analyze the hazards that could potentially entail holding the 14th General Assembly (GA14), and also safeguard both RTRS’ Members rights and the health of their representatives.

After an exhaustive analysis, the RTRS Executive Board members have decided to cancel the GA14, originally scheduled for June 25, in Frankfurt, Germany, following RT15.

RTRS Global Platform

Annual Conference, Task Forces & Working Groups

Furthermore, and in view of the current and global health concern, we regret to inform you that RTRS have decided to cancel, as well, all RTRS face-to-face meetings and events until further notice, subject to the evolution of the global health scenario.

Therefore, and as you might probably be expecting, the Executive Board members have decided, to cancel RTRS Annual Conference|RT15, originally scheduled for 24 & 25 June, in Frankfurt, Germany, now postponed to 2021.

Similarly, face-to-face Task Forces activities in Brazil will be postponed; however, RTRS will propose different meeting moments using any of the various technology options now available to stay connected and keep conversations and discussions going. In addition, RTRS External Consultant, as well as RTRS Secretariat, will be available for questions, information, regular calls or conference calls as may be required.

As to Technical Working Groups, namely their reviewing of RTRS Responsible Production Standard, different on-line dynamics that meet technical and organizational requirements will be analyzed and designed to replace meetings that are normally face-to-face.

RTRS is also planning several webinars for 2020 to keep active and fluent communication channels and interactions with all interested stakeholders, striving towards a two-way feedback process. We will keep you well informed.

We very much look forward to see you all at our next virtual meeting or conversation!

RTRS Certification

RTRS Standards, Audits & Certification Process

Taking into account that RTRS certification (for production and chain of custody) is available in 10 countries and to safeguard the health and well-being of all the players involved in the audit process, RTRS is evaluating measures to enable continued operation of the assurance system and assessment of RTRS standards requirements by reinforcing on-line operations and audits, while remaining robust and strict.

Once these measures are approved by RTRS Executive Committee, certified producers, other certified chain players, certification and accreditation bodies, and all stakeholders at large will be duly informed.

We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but right now RTRS top priority is everyone’s health and safety.

RTRS will be regularly updating its policy subject to the evolution of COVID-19 and will basically remain aligned with the regulations, recommendations and health indications issued by government authorities and local and international organizations.

We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation in joining efforts to make virtual meetings successful.

With members in more than 27 countries, our aim is to mitigate risks for the sake of global wellbeing. We strongly believe that in these critical times, collaboration is the clue to sustainability.

Yours sincerely,

Marcelo Visconti

Executive Director