Finland-based meat and poultry producer HKScan has become a member of the Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) and thereby committed itself to continuously promoting greater ethical responsibility in the supply chain of soy used in animal feed. HKScan will ensure that by the end of 2018, all soy used in its entire meat value chain will meet the strict requirements of the RTRS.
Soy is an important protein source in animal feed, HKScan officials say, and commitment to using responsibly produced soy is a key part of sustainable meat production, responding to stakeholders' expectations of high standards of responsibility throughout the entire meat value chain.
"We are gratified to see that our stakeholders' interest in sustainable meat production is growing day by day. Our commitment to responsible soy is an important step forward," said CEO Hannu Kottonen. "Sustainable meat production begins with sustainable feed production. We will, together with our suppliers in all our home markets - Finland, the Baltic countries, Sweden and Denmark - continuously move towards our responsibly produced soy target over the next five years."
Soy used in Europe is typically exported from South America. The RTRS stipulates principles, criteria and third-party audits to ensure that national and regional legislation is followed. It also provides assurance of good working conditions, environmental responsibility and sound agricultural practices. With HKScan being one of largest meat producers in Europe, its commitment to the RTRS will contribute substantially to responsible soy development.
There are various problems and challenges which may be associated with soy cultivation today. Current land-use practices in conventional production threaten biodiversity, disrupt natural ecosystems and exacerbate global warming. Hazardous pesticides which are abandoned in Europe may be used with inadequate practices, exposing both locals and workers. Other ethical issues include deprivation of land from local farmers, remuneration of workers below minimum wages, and even instances of slavery. HKScan is thus strongly committed to promoting more responsibly produced soy, ensuring that the entire value chain from animal feed to the consumer's plate is environmentally and socially sustainable.