Nineteen food companies have united under the Dutch Initiative for Sustainable Soy (IDS) to buy the first 85,000 tonnes of soybeans produced to new standards.
Nineteen food and animal feed companies, including Unilever, Cargill, ADM and Nutreco, have united under the Dutch Initiative for Sustainable Soy (IDS) to buy the first 85,000 tonnes of soybeans produced to standards set by the first Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)-certified soybeans. Estimates put the production capacity of RTRS-certified farmers at 500,000 tonnes by 2012, and 1.8 million tonnes by 2015.
The Netherlands is one of the main gateways for soybeans in Europe, mainly for animal feed. Globally, its imports are second only to China’s. The RTRS’s certification standard for production was agreed in 2009 by 150 stakeholders, including NGOs, producers and traders. It aims to ensure that no native forest, or land of ‘high conservation value’, will be cleared for soy farming. WWF, which helped set the RTRS standards, believes the scheme is a vital tool in limiting deforestation, although critics, including Friends of the Earth, fear that it will encourage the expansion of unsustainable soy farming elsewhere, and criticise it for failing to outlaw genetically modified soy. – Christine Ottery
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