FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines

FEFAC is fully engaged in facilitating market transparency on responsible soy sourcing by the European feed industry, including deforestation- and conversion-free soy. The Soy Sourcing Guidelines are the key tool FEFAC has developed for this purpose.

FEFAC acknowledges the importance of global efforts at UN level and EU initiatives to counter biodiversity loss, halt deforestation and promote the respect of human and labour rights, in line with UN SDGs and EU “Green Deal” targets. Soy is considered a forest risk commodity in some biomes and the European soy value chain carries a responsibility to take action where it can make a direct positive contribution. The FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines are a private sector initiative to facilitate transparency for European and global markets to source certified responsible soy meeting a minimum level of performance requirements. Responsible schemes and programmes can apply for a comparison benchmark against the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines, which is facilitated and performed by ITC (International Trade Centre).

What are the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines?

The FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines were first released in 2015. They do not represent a new soy standard, but are designed as a tool to allow for the benchmarking of existing soy certification and verification programmes and schemes for the feed sector. A thoroughly revised and updated version was released in 2021, including a desired criterion on ensuring soy is not cultivated on converted natural ecosystems (in line with the Accountability Framework Initiative) after a certain cut-off date, no later than 31 December 2020. In July 2023 FEFAC released a slightly updated version of the Guidelines 2023, upgrading the criterion on conversion-free soy an essential one. The Guidelines include 73 criteria on i.a. agricultural good practices, responsible working conditions and environmental stewardship, of which 55 are considered essential (obligatory) and 18 are desired (optional). Each scheme must meet at least 8 out of 18 desired criteria to pass the benchmarking exercise. In addition, also the verification requirements must be met. The schemes that have successfully passed the benchmarking exercise are displayed on the FEFAC Responsible Soy Benchmarking Tool on ITC Standards Map, which is a customized platform in the ITC Standards Map infrastructure.

What are the benefits of the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines?

The FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines are credited for having created a baseline performance level for existing responsible soy schemes and programmes, also in the area of deforestation- and conversion-free soy production after a certain cut-off date. Unlike the situation in certified palm oil market offer, there is a large variety of soy schemes approaches, design, focuses and application, which is usually related to the geographical origin and the type of scheme owner (e.g. farmer-owned, trader-owned, independent commercial programmes and schemes). With help of the ITC Standards Map Database, FEFAC has managed to bring transparency in the market offer, preparing the ground for mainstream market demand development. Since the creation of the Guidelines in 2015, FEFAC has contributed to a collective improvement of the performance level of responsible soy schemes and programmes. FEFAC believes the use of soy certification can play an important role for market operators to collect the required information under EU deforestation and due diligence policies.

Responsible Soy Declaration

In May 2019 FEFAC and the International Trade Centre (ITC) developed the opportunity for feed companies to join a Responsible Soy Declaration. As part of their commitment, feed companies agree to take specific actions regarding the sourcing of responsibly produced soy products used in compound feed manufacturing in the EU by 2025, from home-grown and imported origins. For the year 2021, FEFAC estimates that 58% of soy use in industrial compound feed produced in Europe was in line with the criteria of the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines.

Relevant documents and links

Press release FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines 2023

FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines 2023

FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines 2021

FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines 2015