Protection of natural ecosystems now an essential requirement
The European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) announced last week the release of an updated version of the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines. The key change in the 2023 update is that the criterion on the protection of natural ecosystems is now an essential requirement, according to a press release from the federation.
As of adoption, certification and verification schemes and programmes must ensure that the certified soy has not been cultivated in converted natural ecosystems in line with the definition of the Accountability Framework Initiative. Natural ecosystems include: natural forest, native grasslands, wetlands, swamps, peatlands, savannas, steep slopes and riparian areas.
It must be noted that 19 out of 20 schemes that applied for benchmarking against the FEFAC Guidelines 2021 version already included the desired criterion on conversion-free soy.
“The updated FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines demonstrate the value of responsible soy schemes and programmes in assuring deforestation and conversion-free soy supply chains and collecting the necessary information and input for optimal risk management,” said FEFAC president Pedro Cordero. “At the same time, we like to recall that FEFAC’s key objective with the development of its Soy Sourcing Guidelines is to provide market transparency for its members and other soy value chain partners.”
“At the present stage the Soy Sourcing Guidelines 2023 update cannot be considered as an EUDR compliance tool, as too many operational questions about EUDR implementation remain unanswered,” Cordero added. “On the other side we do believe that all verification and certification programmes and schemes which pass the ITC facilitated benchmarking exercise provide useful information to soy value chain partners to carry out a risk assessment and establish the required documentation under the new EUDR, pending further clarification via commodity-specific best practice guidelines to operators.”