Large-scale soy production is causing continuous problems in South America such as land seizure, public health issues and loss of valuable natural areas. The Ecosystem Alliance - a cooperation of Both ENDS, IUCN NL and Wetlands International - enabled twenty South American civil society organisations to compose a plan together. The organisations are all directly or indirectly involved in soy issues. Both ENDS attended a meeting in Brazil at the end of March: participants from Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and the Netherlands gathered to identify communal problems and work towards a combined strategy to combat these.
Over the past 15 years the production of palm oil has increased enormously, and not without reason: palm oil, pressed from the fruit of the oil palm, is cheap and is used in many different products. It is processed in ice cream, chocolate, margarine and sauces, but also in personal care products and cosmetics such as lipstick, detergent, toothpaste, soap and biofuel. Unfortunately, the large demand for palm oil has quite some negative side effects: large-scale deforestation, pollution, 'land grabbing' and above all human rights violations are common practice in countries where palm oil is produced.
I'm in green Guatemala. But despite the idyllic scenery, the green covers a lot of problems. This I discovered during a trip to the sugar cane plantations at the coast.
The Netherlands does not reach target for responsible soy
The Dutch Soy Coalition (consisting of eight development and environmental organisations*) finds that in 2013 only a quarter of the 2.4 million tons of soy used in the Netherlands is responsibly produced. The social or environmental impacts of the production of the other three quarters of Dutch soy imports are not at all clear or accounted for. The target set by the Netherlands is to purchase 100 percent responsible soy by 2015. This will be almost impossible to achieve at this point.