IDH: ‘Many of the solutions we need to transition to responsible soy are there’

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/fotokostic
© GettyImages/fotokostic

Related tags Responsible soy FEFAC deforestation

More action is needed from stakeholders across the supply chain to increase the uptake of responsible soy in the European market, finds a new report.

The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) recently released the latest edition of its European Soy Monitor Report​, which provides insights into the European uptake of responsible and deforestation-free soy in 2019.

The data covers soy compliant with the previous version of the FEFAC soy sourcing guidelines (SSGs), certified deforestation-free soy, low-deforestation risk soy and soybean meal available for domestic consumption.

The publication noted an overall increase in uptake of FEFAC compliant and conversion-free soy, but also a decrease in some countries.

It shows 42.2% of EU28+ soybean meal consumed in 2019 was compliant with FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines (SSG), 25.3% was deforestation-free certified, while some 80.4% of EU soy imports were sourced from low deforestation risk areas.

In 2019, the focus on tackling deforestation and conversion increased and new initiatives advocating for responsible soy emerged. However, the conversion of natural ecosystems such as the Cerrado, the Gran Chaco and major parts of Paraguay continued, found the report.

IDH report findings overview
Overview of IDH report findings © European Soy Monitor Report, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, IDH, June 2021

Bolder action urged 

Daan Wensing CEO of IDH, in an executive summary, stressed the “still significant room​” that exists for supply chain actors to take bolder action and advocate for responsible soy.

“A better balance is needed in some market segments and countries for real and meaningful action. It is concerning to see the discrepancy between different countries, especially by those that are signatories of the Amsterdam Declaration Partnership and committed to leading this movement across the EU.”

He noted that, from a policy perspective, the European Green Deal and the EU-wide due diligence law to respect human rights and the environment, expected to be issued this summer, will demand businesses to take a completely different approach in their supply chains and concrete actions towards a more sustainable supply chain.

Nonetheless, he said that there are promising developments.

“For instance, the work that we are doing on the ground in Brazil with local stakeholders… we have seen farmers working towards the transition to more sustainable productive systems by adopting no-till and integrating crops and livestock and their openness to partnerships with private sector actors that will help accelerate this transition.”

Wensing welcomed the fact that countries with collective action plans for responsible soy are now working together under the flag of the European National Soy Initiatives (ENSI).

He sees positive developments as well in transparency such as the Accountability Framework and the work of the Soy Transparency Coalition, along with various developments in collective action to monitor land conversion and to compensate farmers that want to refrain from expansion.

“Many of the solutions we need to transition to responsible soy are there, the next step is to ensure commitments are translated into time-bound purchase requirements. “

IDH is a Netherlands headquartered organization set up to convene, finance, and manage large programs to accelerate transitions toward sustainability in partnership with multinational and smaller companies, governments, and civil society.

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