First European seminar on responsible soy

07-04-2008 | |

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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