Solving the soy problem
Why are women the future of responsible soy?Cynthia Moleta Cominesi, a conservation analyst at WWF-Brazil, talks about efforts by WWF and other NGOs to support female soy farmers who play a key role in sustainable development.
Soy and youYou may not consume large quantities of soy directly. But the animals you eat do in fact 80% of the world’s soybean crop is fed to livestock, especially chickens.
So if you eat meat, cheese, eggs or milk, there's a strong chance you're indirectly consuming soybeans that had a negative impact on the biodiverse ecosystems they were grown in.
These areas include the Cerrado in Brazil, the Chaco Region in Argentina and the Atlantic Forest in Paraguay. Soy cultivation is even moving into the Amazon, the world’s biggest rainforest and a major carbon sink.
In other parts of the world where soy is also grown, such as India, China, and the US, the crop can also cause negative environmental impacts such as soil erosion and water contamination.
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Unacceptable impacts, urgent solutionsAt WWF, we are deeply concerned about irresponsible soybean plantation expansion. We are especially worried about deforestation, which leads to the loss of valuable natural habitats such as forests and savannahs, and the negative impacts on communities and workers.
One tool to tackle the problem is the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS). A multi-stakeholder initiative involving companies and civil society groups like WWF, the RTRS is the best available global solution with the potential to move the mainstream soy industry to adopt less destructive, more responsible practices.
Meanwhile, WWF tackles the impacts of soy on many fronts. Among other efforts, we are:
- strengthening law enforcement and land use planning in producer countries, such as supporting the soy moratorium in Brazil.
- encouraging the use of degraded land for agricultural expansion
- promoting more responsible consumption of livestock by consuming countries
- investigating the potential of alternative, sustainable protein sources