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Tighter soy certification programmes create opportunities to end with ‘legal’ deforestation

RTRS standard meets the deforestation-free goals of the Amsterdam Declarations.

The large-scale and recently increasing ‘legal’ deforestation in South America is being challenged by The Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) through its scheme of soy certification; a system that ensures a genuinely sustainable food chain.

RTRS is the internationally recognised organisation promoting the responsible production, trading and use of soy. It has been estimated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that 88m hectares of Amazon and Cerrado could still be cleared ‘legally’ if nothing is done to protect them.

‘Legal’ deforestation in South America is being challenged by RTRS through its soy certification scheme. Its verification and certification system has been working towards a sustainable food chain since 2009.

Producers have responded to this challenge and via RTRS have certified soy product to the value of 4 million tons in 2017 and expects to exceed that number in 2018.

RTRS sets a robust and verified standard for soy certification, through its wide network of growers, that is a readily available solution for tackling deforestation and conversion of natural land in the widest scope.

Two recent reports on certification standards by Mekon Ecology and Thunen in support of the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership – the initiative of European countries working towards eliminating deforestation from agricultural and commodity, trade and signed by Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom – observed that RTRS ensures zero deforestation soya production and is transparent in its certification of production.

Furthermore, the Thunen report concluded that while many schemes – such as those included in the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guideline – do offer positive progress towards sustainable soy sourcing only a small number meet the deforestation-free goals of the AD Partnership.

RTRS certification system is a truly holistic approach that stands up for the environment and sustainable agricultural practices as well as the social and rights of workers.

As part of 2017’s Cerrado Manifesto announcement WWF Global Soy Lead Jean F. Timmers, stated that RTRS will play a vital role in delivering progress in the face of deforestation.

“WWF signed the Cerrado Manifesto, is a key partner in the Collaboration for Forests and Agriculture, and considers RTRS as the only standard explicitly banning all conversion of natural vegetation. It is a very useful tool ensuring the transparent implementation of this objective”.

Marcelo Visconti, Executive Director, Round Table on Responsible Soy says,

“Via the issue of ‘legal’ deforestation RTRS can bring the producers, industry, governments and NGOs together by providing a holistic solution to the whole soy supply chain. Leading organizations in the food and animal feed industries can sign up to our system of certification in order to play a truly active role in the protection of the Amazon and Cerrado.”

About the Amsterdam Declarations

The Amsterdam Declarations has been signed by a number of European countries including the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Norway. The declaration recognises the need to eliminate deforestation in relation to agricultural commodity trade within these countries as member states of the European Union. Each country is supportive of private sector and public initiatives to halt deforestation by 2020.

26th November 2018