Soy policy

Deforestation, carried out for the production of soy, is a serious issue. It significantly contributes to climate change and threatens the lives of wild animals and forest-dwelling communities.

As a certification scheme whose mark appears on foods that may contain soy as an ingredient, we want to make sure we are doing what we can to ensure that soy is sustainably and ethically sourced.

This policy was developed in 2019 in consultation with WWF, Efeca and The Roundtable on Responsible Soy, as well as our retail partners.

What does this policy cover?

  • Requirements for appropriate sourcing of sustainable soy to be used in RSPCA Assured products
  • Advice and recommendations on appropriate sourcing of sustainable soy (soybean meal) to be used in feed consumed by animals on RSPCA Assured certified farms

The information in these policies is subject to review.

As of January 2021, we will not permit the use of the RSPCA Assured label on products that contain soy from non-certified sources. Only soy from Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) or ProTerra certified growers, or alternatively soy credits from a credible certification scheme like RTRS will also be permitted.

This is now included in our processor/ packer audit process.

 

We would also like our members to consider appropriate sourcing of sustainable soy (soybean meal) to be used in feed consumed by animals on RSPCA Assured certified farms. Please note this is not currently an auditable point, just a recommendation.

With regards to animal feed containing soy, in the first instance, we recommend diversification of animal feed to species-appropriate sustainable alternatives. Where soy must continue to be used, we strongly advise this to come from RTRS or ProTerra certified growers.

 

Why has this policy been introduced?
As part of the largest animal welfare organisation in the UK, RSPCA Assured has an obligation to assure the welfare of animals wherever it is practical to do so; and not just those covered by its farm animal welfare certification scheme, but any animals which may be impacted by its actions.

Between 80-90% of soy used in the UK is as a component ingredient in animal feed. It is also a common ingredient in many foods consumed by humans. However, soy is also a large driver of deforestation, and therefore the displacement of wild animals including jaguars, armadillos and more.

Following the guidance of WWF, RSPCA Assured will set out guidelines on its approach to soy in relation to the certification mark.

Purpose of the soy policy
We feel it is important to specifically outline our preferred approach to the use of soy in relation to products carrying the RSPCA Assured certification mark, in order to minimise the negative effect of RSPCA Assured members on wildlife and the environment.

What this policy covers:
Requirements for appropriate sourcing of sustainable soy to be used in RSPCA Assured products only. This will mainly apply to value-added products.

Sustainable soy: Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) or ProTerra

As of 01 January 2020, we request that all new products only include soy from Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) or ProTerra certified growers*. Soy credits from a credible certification scheme like RTRS will also be permitted. And as of 01 January 2021, we will also require this of any existing products carrying the RSPCA Assured label.

Just as we currently would not permit the use of the RSPCA Assured logo on products that include ingredients with poor welfare provenance (e.g. eggs from caged birds, pork products from pigs raised on slatted systems), products that include soy from non-sustainable sources will also not be permitted to include the RSPCA Assured logo.

See  Responsible Soy and Proterra Foundation for more information about these schemes.

Why change?
For RSPCA Assured, protecting our environment, and the animals in it is crucial to our mission. In the future, we also hope to recognise members who make significant strides in this area.

This issue is gathering traction in the media, amongst pressure groups and with the general public more broadly. As one of the leading ethical assurance labels, we believe it is imperative to put policies in place to protect and fortify the reputation of the scheme, our partners and our members.

* These schemes are subject to annual review by the UK roundtable on sustainable soy.

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