Posted on September 5, 2006

WWF, Unilever create sustainable soy watchdog

New global standards for soybean production on the way

WWF Monday introduced the first international organization with a mission to reduce the negative impacts of soy production.

As a response to mounting consumer demand for environmental and socially sound soy production, the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) was created by multinational firms including Cargill and Unilever, environmental groups like WWF, financial institutions, retailer Swiss Coop, and several South American soy-related businesses.

Soybeans are used in the production of feed for cattle, pigs, poultry and fish as well as foods, edible oil, and cosmetics.

The organization said its first task is to develop “responsible” global standards for the production and trade of soy within 18 months.

“Enough is enough, deforestation for agriculture has to stop,” said Leonardo Lacerda of WWF’s Global Forests Program. “The private sector is beginning to understand that it needs to do its homework, and quickly, in order to avoid less desirable outcomes such as product boycotts or the establishment of non-tariff barriers to eradicate irresponsibly produced soy.”

In Europe, soy traders and retailers have been under attack for buying soy from producers that are fueling deforestation of valuable conservation habitats in places such as the Amazon and the Cerrado (wooded savannahs) of South America, WWF said.

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