WWF works to support better production, improve policy, and transform markets. This means identifying areas that should be zoned out of production due to their high conservation value, while encouraging the establishment of production on available degraded lands. It also requires calling for transparent land-use planning processes and promoting responsible purchasing and investment policies in the sector.
Because of the threats of soy plantations to the environment, WWF helped establish the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) in 2005 as a forum for all parties involved with and affected by soy cultivation. The RTRS is a platform to develop solutions for responsible soy production, including the development of criteria for responsible production and sourcing of soy.
In 2009, the RTRS adopted preliminary voluntary production standards that require producers to take measures to protect the environment. These standards include prohibiting the conversion of areas with high conservation value and eliminating hazardous pesticides in soy farming. Unilever, Waitrose, ARLA Foods and Lantmannen have already made commitments to sourcing certified RTRS soy.
As China dramatically increases soy imports to more than 50% of current volumes by 2020, there is a short window of time to coordinate global efforts to protect what remains of the native savannas and forests in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. Given China’s demand, focus should be brought on major soy crushers and traders.