The first step for companies is to commit to using only responsible soy that doesn’t contribute to deforestation or habitat conversion.
Currently the most credible verifiable options are soy that is certified by the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) or ProTerra.
WWF helped to set up RTRS a decade ago. Nearly 200 members have since joined, including many major producers, traders and buyers of soy.
The organization has developed and implemented global standards for the responsible production, processing and trade of soy; developed a certification system; and works to build a market for certified-responsible soy.
Formulated through a rigorous, transparent, multi-stakeholder process, RTRS-certified responsible soy production:
The first RTRS-certified soy came onto the market in 2011. In 2015 2.3 million tonnes of soy – representing 0.7% of global supply – was RTRS certified.
We expect to see a strong increase in volumes of responsible soy over the next few years. One of the purposes of this Scorecard is to encourage companies to take action and follow through on the commitments they have made on responsible soy, and to encourage others to follow suit.
The ProTerra standard is broadly equivalent to RTRS, but exclusively certifies non-genetically-modified (GM) soy. In 2015, 3.6 million tonnes of soy was certified by ProTerra.
Though WWF is calling for improvements in its governance and transparency, for a decade it has been a credible alternative for companies that want to use responsible and GM-free soy.
Other actions companies can take to create a more responsible soy industry
Many leading companies have committed to “deforestation-free” supply chains. The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), which represents 400 of the world’s largest manufacturers and retailers, has committed to work toward achieving an end to deforestation by 2020.
A number of international banks, as part of the Banking Environment Initiative, have launched the Soft Commodities Compact to help their clients build sustainable supply chains.
Both initiatives identify soy as one of the 4 key drivers of deforestation, and advise companies to choose RTRS-certified soy.
In 2006, following international concern from consumers and pressure from major companies like McDonald’s, Carrefour and Tesco, Brazil’s main processors and exporters pledged that they would not buy soy produced on any recently deforested land in the Amazon.
Initially the Moratorium was set for 2 years, but it has proved so successful in limiting deforestation that it has been renewed every year since. In May 2016 it was renewed for an indefinite period.
In 2014, many governments, companies and NGOs signed the New York Declaration on Forests. It pledges to halve natural forest loss by 2020, and strive to end it by 2030 – including deforestation related to soy.
We urgently need to build on these developments to create a responsible soy industry. The longer we delay, the more irreplaceable forests and natural ecosystems will be lost, causing even greater damage to biodiversity, people and the climate.