Soybean is a major ingredient for animal feeding in the EU, which is highly dependent on its import. Brazil is the main exporter of soy meal to Europe contributing to nearly 30% of EU total import of meal. The last ten years saw an increased demand from the EU feed and food industry in using sustainable raw material. In this context, the European Feed Manufacturer Federation (FEFAC) is currently discussing a guideline for the characteristics that sustainable soy production should have. At the same time, China has increased its share of import of soy and has become the main importer of soy in the world. Competition between Europe and Chine for the supply of soy is increasing. Trade barriers, due to complex sustainability requirements from the EU, could affect its import from Brazil. The SOJAPLUS program is a key initiative concerning the sustainability of soy production in Brazil. It was set up by the Brazilian Vegetable Oil Industries Association (ABIOVE) and by the Soybean Farmers Association (APROSOJA-MT). Considering the potential of this initiative to support the supply to the European market of significant amounts of sustainable soy, the objective of this paper is to discuss the possible harmonization of the sustainability criteria defined by these important EU and Brazilian soy market players. The two set of criteria have been compared, adopting the ITC data base and comparison method; the results show that SOJAPLUS comprises all FEFAC principles and most of its criteria. The main difference, however, is related to the verification system, which in SOJAPLUS is a 1st party system (self-verification) while the FEFAC guidelines consider a 3rd party system (audits); a relevant issue, common to both the FEFAC and SOJAPLUS approach, is related to the inclusion of GMO soy in the sustainability guidelines. As the FEFAC guidelines are still in discussion, there is a very interesting opportunity to harmonize both systems aiming at increasing the sustainability of soybean supply from Brazil to Europe by tackling the difficult challenges of 3rd party certification and GMO soy inclusion. The latter being a major concern for EU consumers, policy makers, farmers’ associations and other stakeholders involved in the processing and consumption of soy.


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