Business & responsible soy

A world where soybean agriculture no longer causes negative environmental impacts in the Amazon, Cerrado, Chaco and Atlantic Forest ecosystems, but also elsewhere in the world, will only be possible if businesses take a leading role in transforming the soy industry toward more responsibility.

WWF is helping to catalyze this transformation.
 
 / ©: Juan Pratginestos / WWF-Canon
Embarkment station for soybeans, Paraguay river, Pantanal.
© Juan Pratginestos / WWF-Canon

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How does WWF work with businesses in the soy sector?

We work with major companies and their supply chains to change the way key global commodities, including soy, are produced, processed, consumed and financed.

Working with us, large retailers, manufacturers, traders and investors can produce commodities more efficiently and responsibly. By creating demand for such products, we can protect the environment and markets will become more responsible.

We do this by:
  • Supporting the development of standards for the responsible production and sourcing of commodities
  • Promoting Better Management Practices (BMP)
  • Increasing the supply of certified products through Multi-Stakeholder Engagements such as Roundtables and Dialogues that involve businesses, trade and industry as well as producers and other NGOs
  • Establishing Company Partnerships to improve the sustainability of supply chains and promote sector-wide action in this field
  • Promoting sustainable Commodity Investments with the financial sector.
In the case of soy, WWF has helped set up the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS). Through the RTRS, environmental and social NGOs, soy producers and traders, finance institutions, manufacturers, retailers and companies in the feed industry collaborate toward responsible soy production and use.

In practice, this involves developing and implementing globally applicable standards for the responsible production, processing and trade of soy, developing a certification system, and working to build a market for certified responsible soy.

Why does WWF collaborate with businesses in the soy sector?

Fragile and threatened ecosystems such as the Amazon, the Chaco, the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado continue to shrink because of, among other, expanding soybean agriculture.

The demand for soy is here to stay, and as such, this industry’s environmental footprint is only likely to grow. By working with soy producers to adopt responsible business practices, we can make sure that this footprint is minimized.

By building demand for the responsibly produced soy, we hope that the market reaches a tipping point where the majority of the globe’s soy is produced responsibly.

Zero deforestation, minimal use of pesticides, fair labour practices… these are just some of the basic principles that every business in the soy industry should abide by.

What does WWF expect of businesses in the soy sector?

  • Show visible public commitment to responsible soy
  • Join the RTRS, and for producers, begin certifying farms according to the RTRS under a time-bound plan
  • All companies that buy or trade soy should commit to 100% RTRS soy (or soy produced with equivalent environmental and social safeguards) by 2015 and begin purchasing responsible soy as soon as possible
  • Companies that buy or trade soy should develop detailed supplier requirements for responsible soy
  • Companies that buy or trade soy should start with the stepwise approach
WWF is committed to ensuring there is a market for non-GM soy in the long-term, and encourages buyers that prefer non-GM to start buying RTRS non-GM soy (or other non-GM soy that offers the equivalent environmental and social safeguards)

WWF asks investors to implement investment screens that are aligned with the RTRS criteria (or equivalent), and to provide financial incentives to companies that produce and buy responsible soy.
WWF has developed the Supply Chain Risk Assessment Tool in order to help companies assess the environmental and social risks associated with sourcing commodities like soy.

For more information, contact:
Kate Anderson
Program Officer, Agriculture
WWF
Washington, DC
email Kate

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 / ©: WWF Paraguay
WWF staff with smallholder soy producers.
© WWF Paraguay

What is the stepwise approach?

  1. Public acknowledgement of the problem and active engagement in finding a solution
  2. Development of responsible purchasing policy for soy
  3. Assessment of supply chain to understand what commodities are sourced, and from where
  4. Assessment of supply chain to understand how much of sourced soy is produced responsibly, and how much comes from damaging sources
  5. Implementation of policy to increase the amount of responsibly-produced soy, and eliminate soy from damaging sources

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