Geographic scope: Global
Initiated in 2006
Established in 2006, the Round Table on Responsible Soy is a civil organization that promotes the responsible production, processing, and trading of soy on a global level
Members: The platform consists of an international range of private sectors and many large international supermarkets and multinationals, categorized as ‘industry, trade, ad finance’. Government members, especially those from South America (Brazil and Argentina) are also associated with the platform, as are those from the United Kingdom, Belgium, USA, and Canada. Also involved is civil society in the form of the development, environmental conservation, and solidarity sectors and known international agencies such as the WWF. Expert, technical, and research members include private companies, labs, and educational institutes from a range of countries in South America, Europe, USA, and Canada.
Negative social and environmental impacts of soy production
The Round Table for Responsible Soy was made to address the negative impacts of the production of soy on social and environmental issues. The platform allows for an exchange of harmonious dialogue and decision-making between members. In 2004, the Responsible Soy Forum was initiated in London; however, the development of the RTRS took place in Switzerland, where major organizations—including Grupo Maggi, Cordad, COOP, WWF, Fetrauf-Sul, and Unilever—took part in the original organizational committee. In 2010, the first version of the RTRS standard was launched.
Intentions and aspiration
Sustainable production of soy across the value chain
The platform focuses on the sustainable agriculture of soy and all those involved in the soy value chain, from producers to sellers. The main objective of the platform is to facilitate dialogue on a global scale; it also aims to reach a common consensus between stakeholders, to be a focal forum for global soy production, and to promote the round table process in other sectors. In order to do so, the platform set pillars with which all must comply: legal compliance and good business practices, responsible labor conditions, responsible community relations, environmental responsibility, and good agricultural practices.
Arrangements and capacitities
The governance framework fairly represents all the constituencies involved and interested in the soy value chain: production, industry, trade and finance, and civil society. The general assembly is the highest decision-making body of the platform. Made of 15 members (voted for by RTRS members) from 3 chambers (environmental and social NGOs, industry and trade, and producers). Each member category has a maximum of 5 representatives with the same voting rights. The organization’s management, communications, and technical tasks are managed by an executive secretariat based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and runs as an operational center for offering services to its members. There is a membership fee depending on the category of membership.
Activities and outputs
The platform delivers core activities to its members by placing the platform on a global level and making it applicable to the production of soy for different purposes, as well as for producers of all sizes. It is valid for all types of production and links to the SDGs of sustainability communities. Moreover, the platform provides core products, including RTRS credits and the RTRS credit trading platform. One ton of certified soy is equivalent to one responsible soy production credit, which can then be used by businesses or organizations in the RTRS credit training platform to show their commitment to the platform. Moreover, this can also be made visible to customers, and consumers can buy RTRS products.
Monitoring and evaluation
Soy with the RTRS certification—whether a raw material or a by-product—is guaranteed to originate from an environmentally, socially, and economically source. Traceability is maintained via two supply chain models: (i) segregation, where soy that is RTRS certified is kept physically separate from other soy that is not RTRS certified; and (ii) mass balance, where soy from RTRS-certified properties may be mixed with sources of non-certified soy, with the mixing process monitored by management. Once the mixing process is finalized, equivalent percentages of certified and noncertified soy may be sold on the market.