News / 13 October 2016

Press release: 66% of soy used in the Netherlands still unsustainable

The Netherlands has not reached the 100% target it set itself for the purchase of responsibly sourced soy, with only 34% of imports reaching the RTRS (Round Table on Sustainable Soy ) or an equivalent sustainability standard in 2015. The pork and poultry sectors are lagging behind with an uptake of less than 10% of responsibly sourced soy.

In December 2011 Dutch players in the soy value chain (representatives of the Dutch animal feed sector, supermarkets, the dairy, pork and poultry sectors and the Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture) signed a letter of intent to make the switch to 100% responsibly sourced (RTRS certified or equivalent) soy by 2015. The Dutch Soy Coalition* publishes a biennial Soy Barometer, which measures how these commitments are met. Figures released by the Soy Coalition today clearly show that only 34% of the soy used in the Netherlands in 2015 was responsibly sourced. That means over 66% came from unsustainable sources.


Not a leading example

In the letter of intent, Dutch players expressed the ambition to be a leading example in the world. “It’s now clear, however, that the Netherlands is not playing a pioneering role,” says Tamara Mohr of Both ENDS, Secretariat of the Soy Coalition. “Switzerland is doing a lot better**: in 2015 94% of the country’s imported soy was sustainably sourced. Swedish organisations are also living up to their commitment to 100% responsibly sourced soy***."


Positive developments

There were also a number of positive developments: the Dutch dairy sector did reach its 100% target, and supermarkets in the Netherlands are now demanding responsible soy in their purchasing agreements.


Rising demand for soy

Over 319 million tonnes of soybeans are produced globally, and the demand continues to rise. In fact, soybean production has doubled in the last 20 years. More than half of it is produced in South America - especially in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The Netherlands imports about three-quarters of its soy from South America, where soy production still goes hand-in-hand with alarming issues that require urgent attention, such as deforestation, land conflicts, environmental problems caused by pesticide use and increasing pressure on food security.


The Dutch Soy Coalition therefore urges all players in the soy value chain to take concrete steps that will pave the way from 34% to 100% responsibly sourced soy (at least RTRS or equivalent) in the short term, as expressed in the letter of intent. The whims of the market should never be used as an excuse.


*The Dutch Soy Coalition is joint initiative of a number of Dutch civil society organisations, including Both ENDS, IUCN NL, Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands), Stichting Natuur&Milieu (the Netherlands Society for Nature and Environment), Solidaridad, Wetlands International and World Wildlife Fund the Netherlands. We work with scientists, industry and civil society organisations in soy producing, -processing and -consuming countries to find ways to make soy cultivation fairer and better for the environment.



*** In Sweden all 29 signatories kept to the accord: 100% responsibly sourced soy and animal product imports (own brand)– see: p.43


Photo: Tim Boekhout van Solinge  - Deforestation for soy continues the Amazon region

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