Protecting nature and people from soy's negative impacts

As soy plantations continue to push further and further into some of South America’s most biodiverse ecosystems, WWF is working to counter the industry’s destructive impacts. Just some of the actions we’re taking are:
  • Developing more responsible production standards
  • Promoting policies to support them
  • Encouraging the market to source responsible soy
 
 / ©: WWF-Paraguay
WWF staff talking with soy producers
© WWF-Paraguay
For WWF, the central problem related to soy agriculture is deforestation and the conversion of other natural habitats. We are addressing this by:

1. Transforming markets

Promoting responsible purchasing and investment policies in the sector

Conducting seminars for companies that buy soy so they can procure it more responsibly

2. Promoting better production practices

Supporting the development of better production practices that reduce the environmental and social impact of soy

Supporting tools to identify areas that should be zoned out of production due to their high conservation value, while encouraging the establishment of production on available degraded lands and low-productivity pastures

3. Improving policy

Calling for transparent land use planning processes to achieve an optimal distribution of natural forests, plantations, agricultural areas, urban areas and other land use

It’s also about what we eat…

Today, approximately 80% of the soy produced in the world goes to feed cattle, pigs, chickens and even (farmed) fish. Most of the rest goes directly into food (such as margarines and cooking oils).

This is why consumers have a big role to play in growing the market for responsible soy. In the UK and elsewhere, WWF is spearheading campaigns that encourage the public to ask retailers to source products made with responsible soy, and livestock fed with responsible soy.

Soy: a sustainable diet is a healthy diet

Another way consumers can reduce their footprint is to eat smart. Eat more fruit, vegetables and cereals—a healthy diet is a sustainable diet! Health authorities in many countries around the world promote increased proportions of fruit and vegetables in the regular diets of their citizens, as well as “recommended levels of meat consumption”.

For example, the German Society of Nutrition recommends a maximum of 300-600 g of meat per week, approximately one-third of what Germans currently consume.

Working together for a more responsible soy industry

A central element of WWF’s strategy for responsible soy happens through the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), established in 2005 as a forum for all parties affected by, and involved with, soy cultivation.

The RTRS is a platform to develop solutions for responsible soy production, including the development of criteria for responsible production and building a global market for certified responsible soy.

► Find out more about the RTRS 

Where our conservation efforts with regard to soy are making a difference

Our work on soy affects several valuable places such as the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest, the Cerrado and the Chaco.

BLOG

"The RTRS is a positive way for all organisations affected by soy to be part of the solution. But continuous improvement and strengthening is key."

► Read more about what Cassio Franco Moreira, Head of WWF-Brazil's Agriculture and Environment Programme, has to say on RTRS in this blog post [WWF-UK]

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 / ©: Michel Roggo / WWF-Canon
The Amazon is one of the ecosystems also under threat from soybean agriculture
© Michel Roggo / WWF-Canon

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