The U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) was positively benchmarked against the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation’s (FEFAC) Soy Sourcing Guidelines through the independent International Trade Centre (ITC) customized benchmark tool on March 8, 2016.
“This is yet another step in the right direction for the U.S. Soy industry. The SSAP is a commitment to the future by U.S. soybean farmers. Because sustainability’s fundamental principle is continuous improvement, the SSAP is constantly evolving,” said USSEC chairman Laura Foell. “We look forward to continuing to supply the EU and countries around the world with healthy, sustainable soybeans from U.S. farmers.”
FEFAC’s soy sourcing guidelines seek to facilitate mainstream market supply for soy, which is produced in accordance with baseline environmental and social criteria. The independent ITC benchmarking provides transparency to interested EU feed associations and member companies who wish to make further progress towards the mainstream market transition for the supply of sustainably produced soy to the EU feed sector.
According to USSEC Regional Manager – EU/MENA Brent Babb, the approval designation was done by an independent party international trade center, which is part of the World Trade Organization (WTO). USSEC provided additional information about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) audit system and had extensive training performed by their staff.
Angela Booth, chairperson of the FEFAC Sustainability Committee stated, “The continued benchmarking applications by responsible soy programme owners shows the growing acceptance by soy value chain partners of the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines. USSEC has recognised the value of qualifying with the EU feed industry’s demands and aligned their criteria accordingly.”
USSEC, together with members of the U.S. Soy family, developed the SSAP in 2013. The protocol helps to ensure that U.S. Soy is produced following a strong set of conservation regulations combined with wide adoption of best management practices by a majority of U.S. farmers. The methodologies for measuring sustainable performance are thorough and transparent, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. The SSAP verifies that U.S. Soy is sustainably produced and aims to meet growing consumer demand for environmentally, socially and economically produced commodities. The protocol covers four key components including sound environmental objectives, social responsibility, conservation focused management practices and continuous improvement.
This crop year, over 3 million metric tons, equivalent to 110.22 million bushels, of U.S. Soy have been exported and certified under the SSAP program.
“The big advantage the U.S. has in sustainability is its strong conservation system, which has continuously improved since the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. This enables U.S. producers to produce sustainable agriculture in large volumes,” said Mr. Babb. “No other country has an agriculture conservation system as large and impactful as the United States.”
FEFAC was founded in 1959 and represents 25 national associations in 24 EU member states as well as associations in Switzerland, Turkey, Serbia, Russia and Norway with observer/associate member status. Sales of the European compound feed industry are estimated at € 50 billion annually.
The ITC was formed in 1946 by a joint mandate between the WTO and the United Nations (UN). ITC created a Standards Map process, which provides comprehensive, verified and transparent information on voluntary sustainability standards and other similar initiatives. The main objective of the program is to strengthen the capacity of producers, exporters, policymakers and buyers, to participate in more sustainable production and trade.