The Danish feed manufacturer has been involved in the Donau Soja led Protein Partnership Program, which aims to increase sustainable non-GM volumes in Europe and support European farmers in their entry into sustainable and GMO-free soy production.
Donau Soja (DS) is a Vienna-based, non-profit organization that works alongside European farmers and agricultural stakeholders to promote an environmentally sustainable and economically viable European soy supply. It manages the soy production standard - Donau Soja (DS)/Europe Soy (ES).
An improvement program designed to provide the financial, technical, and practical support necessary to allow farmers to become certified to the DS Standard, DS Protein Partnerships acts as a European equivalent to the Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS) credit system, according to Donau Soja.
That organization’s executive director, Susanne Fromwald, told us last year:
“A lot of companies are thinking about their footprint and compensation [models] and they go for credits, frequently they go for RTRS credits.
"With the Protein Partnerships, we have created a European equivalent, which means retailers and other stakeholders can pay for the training and certification of farmers, and for the certification of primary collectors. That costs around €3-5 per ton, depending on the country and the amount involved.
"The idea around this is that we increase the volume and the availability of certified Donau Soja/Europe Soya until we reach a tipping point whereby the segregation costs come down and it becomes economically more feasible to really go for the physical flow.”
Training and certifying farmers
BioMar chose Croatia as its partner country, citing its proximity to existing supply chains. Specifically, the project involved three Croatian agricultural cooperatives and 540 soybean farmers.
The partnerships work as a tool for building up safe and sustainable non-GMO soy production in Europe, at relatively low costs. They strengthen the first link in the physical value chain, as well as investing in training and certifying farmers and primary collectors, said BioMar.
Investing in sustainable soy production in Europe also contributes to significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and supports local production, noted the feed producer.
Lidl, the German retailer, is also actively involved in the Donau Soja initiative.