FEFAC Clarifies New Soy Sourcing Guidelines
After releasing draft soy sourcing guidelines for public review and receiving feedback from stakeholders, the EU feed manufacturers’ federation (FEFAC) is clarifying the guidelines as recommendations not new standards.
The guidelines consist of six basic principles, including legal compliance, environmental responsibility, good agricultural practices, protection of community relations, respect for land rights and responsible working conditions.
Based on the responses that FEFAC received about the guidelines it became clear that the aim of the guidelines was not universally understood. Some groups misunderstood them to be standards that companies would be required to adhere to rather than simply criteria that companies can use to measure responsible soy sourcing schemes.
“In an initial response to the public consultation and in order to eliminate any ambiguity around recommendations, FEFAC has addressed fived areas that generated the most discussion, from the purpose of the guidelines to deforestation to essential and desired guidelines,” says FEFAC president Ruud Tijssens.
Two of the more notable things addressed in FEFAC’s response include the aim of the guidelines and deforestation. The organization clarified that it is outside FEFAC’s mandate to tell soy products companies what they can and can’t buy or to promote a specific set of standards. But FEFAC can provide recommendations to member companies that include what it would require to meet a credible baseline for soy sourcing. While FEFAC’s guidelines are based on numerous responsible soy programs, they are not comprehensive.
With regards to deforestation, for which there was stakeholder criticism because FEFAC did not provide a universal cut-off date after which land cannot be converted to soy production, Tijssens said, “…the most valuable contribution the guidelines can make towards ending illegal deforestation is to ensure legal compliance with governmental regulation – an important first step towards forest protection.”