The European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) recently updated its Soy Sourcing Guidelines (SSG). In the latest edition of Feed Strategy Chat, FEFAC President Asbjørn Børsting discusses the highlights, including a new benchmarking module for conversion-free soy.
In 2015, the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) launched its Soy Sourcing Guidelines (SSG), in line with its Feed Sustainability Charter 2030 for continuous improvement in responsible soy sourcing. Recently, the feed association upgraded the guidelines to cover a range of additional essential criteria to inform soy value chain partners and other stakeholders on the available market solutions for responsibly produced soy for European feed production.
The updated FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines establish a new set of criteria and verification requirements enabling responsible soy schemes and programs to enter an independent benchmarking process, which is facilitated and performed by the International Trade Centre (ITC).
In addition, SSG 2021 offers a new innovative feature: the ability for responsible soy schemes to voluntarily benchmark themselves against the desired criterion and on their capacity to deliver “conversion-free soy,” which will provide “credible and verifiable assurances that the respective soy cultivation did not drive conversion of natural eco-systems.”
To date, FEFAC estimates almost half of the total European feed industry soy usage is responsibly produced.
FEFAC President Asbjørn Børsting joined The Chat to discuss the new SSG and why sustainable soy sourcing is important to animal feed producers.
Video transcript: Feed Strategy Chat with Asbjørn Børsting, FEFAC president
Jackie Roembke, editor, Feed Strategy: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Feed Strategy Chat. I’m your host, Jackie Roembke, editor of Feed Strategy magazine. This edition of Feed Strategy Chat is brought to you by WATT Global Media and FeedStrategy.com. FeedStrategy.com is your source for the latest news and leading-edge analysis of the global animal feed industry.
Today we’re joined on Zoom by Asbjørn Børsting, president of the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC). He’s here today to talk about the updated sustainable Soybean Sourcing Guidelines. Hi Asbjørn, how are you?
Asbjørn Børsting, president, FEFAC: Hi, I’m fine. Thank you. I hope you are fine, too.
Roembke: I am, thank you very much. Let’s start at the beginning. Why is sustainable soybean sourcing and production important to the global animal feed industry?
Børsting: There are several reasons why it is so important as we see it. The first reason is that we as a sector, as an industry, look to produce in a sustainable way.
The second reason is, of course, that our customers — what we are calling our downstream customers: the food industry, the consumers and retail sector — they want us also to produce in a way where they can claim that they are sourcing in a sustainable way.
Another reason is also that the political system — at least here in Europe — we feel very strongly in some countries, the political system wants us to take actions here to participate actively in climate change, taking some initiative where we also can help to improve global climate conditions. And that’s a situation we have in all production sectors in Europe.
So we have a strong pressure from our governments in many countries, from the EU Commission, to take initiative where we really can make what we are calling “changes on the ground” in the countries where we are getting our raw materials.
So it’s important both from the customer’s point of view and from a political point of view, but also because we want to produce in a sustainable way.
View FEFAC’s updated sustainable Soy Sourcing Guidelines: https://bit.ly/300X8IB.
Roembke: Very good. And as I mentioned earlier, FEFAC has recently released the updated version its sustainable Soy Sourcing Guidelines or SSG. Can you please tell our viewers a little bit about the key changes and what they mean for feed industry stakeholders?
Børsting: I should perhaps start to say that our sourcing guidelines were started in the first version in 2015. So it is a [journey] we are on. We have all the time made our goals a little bit sharper, a little bit more ambitious, in our sustainability [journey]. And now we have in 2020 work with dialogue with our suppliers and a lot of our other stakeholders to improve our sourcing guidelines, punching them in especially when it comes to deforestation — to prevent deforestation in South America and elsewhere in the world.
That is a very important part of the climate issue and also biodiversity protection, where we are sourcing our raw materials. That’s a reason why we have created a special module, a special part of our new sourcing guidelines 2021 as we call them. We have added on a new conversion — we are calling it module — where we are making clear guidance on our different schemes, where we can purchase soy, and how we can secure that it can be made without contributing to conversion of the land we want to protect.
Roembke: Very good. Well, thank you so much for your time today. And if you’d like to learn more about the sustainable Soy Sourcing Guidelines, visit fefac.eu. Thank you so much, Asbjørn for your time today. And thank you to our viewers for tuning in.
Børsting: Thank you so much.
Editor’s note: Responsible soy schemes and programs can now apply for re-benchmarking against the new FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines. It expects the upgraded webpage featuring the ITC Sustainability Map and the first set of compliant schemes to be fully operational by May 2021.
Check out the SSG Fact Sheet, highlighting the changes made in 2021: https://bit.ly/3pSqMu9