The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) and Netherlands-based certification agency GMP+ International have signed a cooperation agreement in order to speed uptake of certified responsible soy and simplify the certification process.
The two organisations have created a new standard, GMP+ B101, which allows GMP+ producers to certify their soy under one certification scheme, preventing doubling up of certification fees and providing uniform standards. It focuses on organisations that process soy, such as crushers and traders, rather than growers, who must still be certified under the RTRS programme.
RTRS executive director Agustin Mascotena said in a statement: “This is a big step forward in response to market demand to synergize and simplify existing processes in order to save time and costs. For the RTRS this agreement means leveraging a wide, recognized and tested network, facilitating an increase in scope and immediate impact.”
The Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) was set up in 2006 with the aim of becoming the global standard for responsibly cultivated soy, directly rewarding growers who respect the land rights of local communities and prevent the degradation of valuable nature areas – and market demand for certified soy has been strong. Last year, 91% of RTRS certified soy was taken up by the market.
GMP+ International’s managing director Johan den Hartog said the new agreement would help provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for producers.
Members of the Dutch food industry representing 90% of soy used in the Netherlands signed an agreement in 2011 to work toward a 100% sustainable supply chain for their soy purchases by the end of 2015. The RTRS aim is to certify a total of 5m tonnes of soy by that time, and it just recently reached the 1m tonne mark. After years of planning, the first shipment of soy certified under the scheme was sold to the Initiative for Sustainable Soy (IDS) – a group of Dutch food, retail and feed companies – in June 2011.
Companies participating in the system can choose to use ‘mass balance’ certified soy, meaning that it must use a system to account for the material used and ensure no more responsible soy is being sold in relation to what is bought. Otherwise, companies can use segregated soy, meaning that certified responsible soy is kept physically separate from soy from non-certified sources.