News / 30 October 2014

Soy Barometer 2014: the Netherlands is lagging behind!

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.

We have to do more
Tamara Mohr, spokesperson of the Dutch Soy coalition: ‘In 2011 the Dutch soy industry agreed to reach 100 percent responsible soy in 2015. But if we keep going at this pace, we will not succeed. The government invested 3.5 million euros and the dairy industry complies with the agreement, but the pig- and poultry industries are falling short. The Netherlands boasts about being a frontrunner in importing responsible soy, but can’t live up to our ambition. We have to do much more.’

The harmful effects of soy
Soy production causes many social and environmental problems. Conflicts with local communities about land use, deforestation, loss of wetlands, climate change, environmental damage because of pesticides, and increasing pressure on food security: they can all be attributed to cultivating soy. While the production of responsible soy lags behind, the total production of unsustainable soy is rapidly increasing. 60 percent of the deforestation caused by the European import of vegetable protein crops is caused by soy.  Also regions that are much less suitable for cultivating soy, like the Chaco and the Parana delta in Argentina and the Pantanal in Brazil, are hit hard.  

Today, the ‘Soy Barometer’** will be presented to the Dutch and international soy sectors. In The Hague, NGOs Both ENDS, IUCN NL and Wetlands International (cooperating in the Ecosystem Alliance) discuss the results of this study with representatives of four important soy producing countries, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. Also present are representatives of consumer companies Nutreco, Ahold and Unilever, as well as representatives of the Dutch Ministries of Economic Affairs and Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile in London, the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) introduces its ‘Task Force Europe’ today to further stimulate the sale/import of responsible soy with the RTRS-certificate in Europe. At this event, WWF and Solidaridad will present their ideas for improvement.

Annually, 276 million tons of soy are produced in an area as large as France and Spain. Last year only 2 percent of all this soy was produced with a certification label. The European economy is heavily dependent on soy. Every year, Europe processes 31 million tons of soy, of which only 3.1 percent is produced in Europe. New initiatives are being developed to produce responsible soy in Europe.


*The Dutch Soy Coalition is a cooperation of Both ENDS, IUCN NL, Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth the Netherlands), Natuur&Milieu, OxfamNovib, Solidaridad, Wetlands International and WWF. Together with scientists, companies and NGOs in soy producing, processing, and consuming countries we seek to find ways to improve soy production to make it fair and environmentally friendly. The Soy Coalition also promotes the substitution of imported soy with protein crops produced in Europe.


**You can read and download the Soy Barometer here: Soy Barometer 2014

The background report, on which the public version is based (in English), can be found here.

For more information, please visit the website of the Dutch Soy Coalition


Secretariat Dutch Soy Coalition:

p/a Both ENDS  / Nieuwe Keizersgracht 45  / 1018 VC Amsterdam


Contactperson: Tamara Mohr / phone: 020 – 5306612 / e-mail: or the communications department: phone 020 -5306600 / email: / /

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