Due to environmental impact of some soy agriculture practices, and increasing consumer concern about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), food manufacturers worldwide are taking steps to ensure they follow standards for responsibly cultivated soy.
Many food products contain some soy component, though it’s not always highly visible to the consumer. It can enter the food formulation process at various points in the supply chain, starting as early as animal feed.
In order to mitigate brand risk due to negative consumer feedback, and in the interest of preserving the environment, food formulators need to be aware of their companies’ policies on sustainable sourcing, and their supply chain certification status.
Global Soy Certification
- Established in 2006, the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) has established a framework for certifying the sustainability of soy products. Certification is valid for five years. You can search for RTRS participating members on their website.
- By the end of 2017, one-third of of soy imported into Europe will be certified sustainable, says RTRS1.
- RTRS signed a cooperation agreements with Netherlands-based certification agency GMP+2 and ProTerra3 to simplify the certification process and help meet global demands. See ProTerra’s member list here.
- Currently, 98 percent of U.S. soybeans are certified sustainable, according to the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol.
There is also growing interest in using and developing soy beyond the traditional food industry. Soy offers a renewable, biobased alternative to petroleum-based products. Manufacturers are now offering a variety of biobased products, from fuel to cleaning supplies to roofing materials.
These products reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and offer environmental and health benefits, such as lower VOCs, reduce exposure to toxic chemicals as well as irritation from odors, and more4.
Further, through the Federal BioPreferred program, the USDA designates categories of biobased products which receive a federal procurement preference.
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Join the conversation
Does your company have any requirements for sustainable sourcing? Do you track sustainable sourcing through your supply chain? Have you had to change your formulations due to regulation changes? Please share your experience with a comment below.
References and Resources:
- Marketing Sustainable Soy
- RTRS and GMP+ sign responsible soy certification agreement
- RTRS and ProTerra in joint agreement: [PDF]
- Soy biobased products
- UnitedSoybean.org Sustainability topics
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