Marcelo Visconti

Tackling Deforestation

One of the main present commitments and challenges, globally, is to ensure that supply chains (soy, palm, beef) are not contributing to deforestation or the conversion of natural areas to agriculture. Therefore, supporting growers and the wider soy supply chain to produce and trade soy responsibly yet achieving zero deforestation is key.

In 2016, the Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) set a global standard for sustainable soy, promoting zero deforestation and zero conversion, as well as responsible labor and community relations.

To date, we are working with more than 32,000 soy producers and have registered more than four million tons of certified RTRS soy in 7 countries. Growers are showing it is possible to produce soy while protecting natural resources, and that transparent and reliable certification standards have not hindered business growth, on the contrary they have helped managed the supply chain risk. RTRS Production Standard is a tangible option for the market; a real solution that promotes zero deforestation in soybean production, among other aspects of high social and legal impact.

In order to protect our forests and natural resources, we understand it is critical to encourage collaborative work with other associations, initiatives and protocols; to discuss, together with governments and the private sector; to develop economic instruments and/or incentives that reward the efforts of the producers who introduce sustainable and responsible practices and preserve native vegetation areas (even when the regulatory framework allows for the conversion, as is the case in the Cerrado region, in Brazil); and step up the efforts to support the initiatives of large companies in the commodity supply chains which guarantee zero deforestation.

Marcelo Visconti, RTRS Global Executive Director
Marcelo Visconti, RTRS Global Executive Director
Marcelo Visconti,
RTRS Global Executive Director 

According to WWF, RTRS is the only standard explicitly banning all conversion of natural vegetation, and a very useful tool ensuring the transparent implementation of this objective.

The RTRS Production Standard is a multi-stakeholder certification scheme that guarantees zero deforestation in responsible soy production. This means that no conversion of any natural vegetation, steep slopes and areas designated by law to serve the purpose of native conservation and/or cultural and social protection is allowed. Producers will, for the first time, be able to show - through an assessment conducted by an independent accredited certification body- that their operations have not impacted negatively any native forests, wetlands or riverbanks.

At the beginning of the year, Bayer and (RTRS) renewed their successful cooperation of 2015 to help soy producers certify their crops according to RTRS standards. The non-exclusive agreement between Bayer and RTRS is complemented by Bayer’s Valore program in Latin America, which is a concrete contribution to help more farmers implement sustainable practices through RTRS certification. Bayer’s Valore’s program is a certification service offered to large scale farmers and part of the Bayer’s Food Chain Partnership strategy in Latin America.

The global production of soy cannot harm the world’s biodiversity, that is our starting point. This is a global challenge involving future generations. As well as being a global, multi-stakeholder roundtable RTRS is also a key player in certifying that soy production can be trusted as being responsible.

RTRS standard has been drawn up collaboratively through a dialogue between producers, industry as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and it is a transparent and trusted certification that can reduce supply chain risk.

RTRS Certification Standard: Beyond zero deforestation

One of RTRS`s objectives is to promote responsible soy production through improved production management systems. Through its standards, principles and criteria, RTRS is a practical tool for ensuring the implementation of commitments to zero deforestation, dignified working conditions, healthy relationships with stakeholders and sustainable farming practices.

Soy producers that conform to RTRS Zero Deforestation Production Standard must also make a series of other relevant improvements; the RTRS sets important social requirements establishing clear criteria regarding human and labor rights, among them the abolition of any type of discrimination and forced labor, as well as requirements concerning the relations with neighboring and indigenous communities rights.

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