Dutch dairy sector switches to sustainable soy

Dutch dairy sector switches to sustainable soy

The Dutch dairy sector– which buys about 300,000 tons of soy per year – only buys soy that is RTRS certified. Soy that conforms to the so-called RTRS standards protects important habitats and respects human rights in its production. The sector is thus living up to the memorandum of understanding on sustainable soy, which it signed in 2011. The World Wide Fund for Nature, Solidaridad and Natuur & Milieu welcome this step by the Dutch dairy sector. The first steps have been made in 2015. How is life 2 years later?

“By buying RTRS-certified soy, the dairy sector helps prevent deforestation and encroachment into special animal habitats like those of the jaguar,” explains Sandra Mulder, international soy expert at the World Wide Fund for Nature. In doing this, the Dutch dairy sector is also an international role model. According to Gert van der Bijl, international soy program coordinator at Solidaridad, “the Dutch are leading the world by choosing this direction.”

Although cows eat mostly grass, their diet also consists of concentrated feed that often contains soy. Worldwide, soybean farming goes hand in hand with deforestation, encroachment into special habitats, and the careless use of pesticides. Local farmers are also being pushed out by large-scale soy farms. To combat these problems, international criteria for the production of sustainable soy were developed by the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS).

By taking this step, the Dutch dairy sector realizes one of the sustainability objectives put forward by the Dutch Dairy Association and LTO Netherlands in 2011 as part of the Sustainable Dairy Chain. The sector is also fulfilling the agreement it made in December 2011 in signing the memorandum of understanding on sustainable soy. Over the last few years, the supply of sustainable soy has increased thanks to the support of the Dutch government (via the Sustainable Trade Initiative) and the Dutch organization working for the transition of the sustainable soy chain, the Stichting Ketentransitie Verantwoorde Soja.

Another step towards the sector’s sustainability is the encouragement of the development of alternative sources of protein. We'll have a look at this topic next time!

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