FEDIOL and FEFAC organized the 5th Workshop on Responsible Soy & Deforestation in Brussels on Oct. 25, which attracted experts from soy value chain partners, public authorities and other stakeholders. The workshop showcased initiatives by (soy) farmer organizations in Brazil and Argentina to promote legal compliance and good agricultural practices while EU representatives from the soy supply chain showed the efforts made to foster the mainstream market transition of responsible soy production and trade. Representatives from the Brazilian government and the soy production chain presented the evolution of environmental legislation and its stringent enforcement over the past 10 years, with the ongoing mandatory implementation of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) and its sophisticated analytical tools as the key instruments to tackle illegal deforestation.
The workshop pointed to the need for follow-up action by downstream chain partners to materialize the commitments to deforestation free supply chains into concrete market demand for responsible soy. In addition, increased engagement from EU and national governments was solicited to consider targeted environmental payments to provide for the necessary incentives to soy farmers to protect native vegetation beyond legal requirements. This is particularly the case for all agricultural activities in the Cerrado Biome, where the challenges as regards the native vegetation are very different compared to the Amazon Biome.
The Earth Innovation Institute representative congratulated the members of the MoU partnership on establishing the first large-scale collaborative approach towards sustainable jurisdictional sourcing, which may provide a vehicle for rewarding environmental performances by farmers thanks to initiatives such as the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines and the Soja Plus program. IDH shared its perspective on a step-wise approach to sustainable sourcing, which starts with moving farmers into legal compliance.