News last update:6 Aug 2012

First European seminar on responsible soy

On 19 March the first European Seminar on Responsible Soy took place. The event was organized by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, FEFAC, the European Feed Manufacturers Federation, and FEDIOL, the EU Oil and Protein meal Industry. It was the first time that at European level industry and civil society representatives joined hands to organize a seminar on achieving mainstream sustainable soy production.

At the event Miguel Hernandez, secretary general of the Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) explained that the RTRS is an initiative to set and implement a global standard for responsible soy production. The standard is currently being developed by a special working group with representatives of producers, industry and civil society organisations. It is expected to be ready by 2009 latest.

Next to Hernandez representatives of IUCN, WWF, Rabobank, AHOLD, Unilever, FEFAC, FEDIOL and two farmer organizations Aapresid (Argentina) and Aprosoya (Brazil) gave their views on sustainable soy production.

Many of them reiterated their support for the RTRS and indicated they consider the RTRS as the framework to develop a standard for responsible soy production, whilst realising that also help of local authorities is needed in making sustainable production happen. Georg Scattolin of WWF remarked that it is important that many organizations become member of the RTRS to ensure its broad support.

Jeroen Douglas of Solidaridad chaired the event. Solidaridad is a Dutch social justice and fair-trade promoting civil society organisation and also an RTRS Executive Board member. Douglas remarked: 'It is important that the RTRS standard becomes the global standard for soy sustainability, as it is very confusing for players in the market and consumers to work with many different standards. The new RTRS Standard is the only initiative that sets criteria for the mainstream production, which is crucial to ensure its effect'.

The event was attended by about eighty participants from the European food and feed industry, civil society organizations and governmental bodies.

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