The Roundtable on Responsible Soy Association (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. 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.
The one million tonne achievement more than doubles the amount of soy certified under the programme in 2011, when 450,000 tonnes was certified. The RTRS has also seen good market uptake, with 91% of volume taken up.
President of the RTRS Jaap Oskam said in a statement: “All organisations involved; companies, NGOs and governments have been of key importance to convert our multi-stakeholder initiative into a reality today. Our first year of certification can also be seen as a success, especially for the producers who have been given the necessary incentive by the market.
“This proves that it is possible to bring together worldwide interests of companies and civil society organizations related to the soy value chain in one solid process to find solutions that are economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally sound.”
RTRS aims to work toward a volume of 5,000,000 tonnes of certified soy by 2015, to supply what it says is growing demand from European retailers, brands and feed companies.
In 2011, members of the Dutch food industry representing 90% of soy used in the Netherlands signed an agreement to work toward a 100% sustainable supply chain for their soy purchases by the end of 2015.
Nineteen producers and representative organisations in Argentina, Brazil, India, Paraguay and Uruguay have already gone through the certification process, while several other soy producing countries have launched projects to encourage producers to do so. In Bolivia and China, these projects are at an advanced stage, the RTRS says.