In January 2013 the Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) reported on its 2012 achievements. During the second year of responsible soy certification, efforts resulted in a volume of almost 1 million tons of certified material. RTRS can look back at a very successful year, having doubled the amount of tons that comply with the RTRS Standard.
Solidaridad International Programme Coordinator for Soy, Gert van der Bijl, has described the achievement as a milestone, which shows that the RTRS standard has been successfully launched in the market. “There have been concerns among soy producers that demand would lack behind and from buyers that there would not be enough supply. Producers managed to sell the overwhelmingly high percentage of 91%. And with the projects in the Soy Fast Track Fund and Producer Support Programme, soy producers will be able to supply 3 to 4 million tons of RTRS certified soy if there is demand. So, no doubt the opportunity for further development of RTRS by the market chain is there,” van der Bijl explained.
Jaap Oskam, President of the RTRS, reflects on the successes: “All organisations involved companies, non-governmental organisations and governments have been of key importance to convert our multi-stakeholder initiative into a reality today. The volume achieved in 2011 following the first year of the RTRS certification, was approximately 450,000 tons. To date 91% of the 2011 volume has been taken up by the market. Our first year of certification can also be seen as a success, especially for the producers who have been given the necessary incentive by the market,” he said.
For 2015 the objective of the RTRS is to grow towards a volume of more than 5,000,000 tons of certified soy, to supply the growing demand for certified responsible soy from European retailers, brands and feed companies.
To date 19 producers and producer representative organisations from Argentina, Brazil, India, Paraguay and Uruguay took the lead by being among the first to go through the process of certification. In several other soy producing countries projects are being implemented through the Soy Fast Track Fund and through the Farmer Support Program, supporting producers to be able to do the same. This includes soy producers in South America, but also in India and China.
Oskam concludes: “This proves that it is possible to bring together worldwide interests of companies and civil society organizations related to the soy value chain in one solid process to find solutions that are economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally sound.”
About the Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) www.responsiblesoy.org
Created in Switzerland in 2006, the RTRS is a global initiative bringing together producers, industry, finance and trade representatives, government organizations and civil society entities that are concerned about the social and environmental impact of soy production.