1st Conference of the Roundtable on Sustainable SoyFoz do Iguaçu, Brazil - The two-day conference, which began today, is being held in the southern Brazilian city of Iguaçu Falls. It attracted over 250 participants, representing major soy producers, farming communities, retailers, social and environmental organizations, and industry and commerce.
Paraguay's Minister of the Environment, Silvio Alfredo Molinas Maldonado, attended the opening while Brazil´s Minister of Agriculture, Roberto Rodrigues, sent a message via video.
In her opening speech, the president of the Roundtable on Sustainable Soy (RSS), Yolanda Kakabadse, reiterated the conference´s concerns. “Given the complexity of the issue, it is necessary to listen to the actors involved. We need to cooperate, as each one of us is part of the solution.”
The representative of Switzerland´s State Secretary of Economy, and one of the conference´s sponsors, Thomas Hentschel, said that soy production must take into account environmental, cultural, political, social and economic factors.
Concerns over the expansion of soy production and its impact on people and nature have been expressed by a range of groups, including the Workers Federation in Family Agriculture of the Southern Region of Brazil (Fetraf-Sul/CUT); the Brazilian Forum of NGOs and Social Movements (FBOMS); Guyra, a conservation organization in Paraguay; and Fundacion Vida Silvestre from Argentina. Business and industry represented in the discussions include French supermarket chain, Carrefour; the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industry; and the Paraguayan Exporter Chamber of Cereal and Oilseeds (CAPECO), among others. Consumer interests were represented by the Brazilian Institute for the Defense of the Consumer (IDEC).
It is hoped that this first conference will result in a commitment in the search for solutions to reducing the negative impact of the demand for soy, and promoting economic development that is socially and environmentally responsible. The conference organizers, the RSS, also hope to define next steps for continuation of the dialogue and creation of a formal structure of the RSS.
The RSS comprises COOP, a leading Swiss retailer in sustainable products; Fetraf-Sul/CUT, which consists of more than 150 rural workers´ unions in southern Brazil; the André Maggi Group, a major Brazilian soy producer; CORDAID, an international development organization with headquarters in the Netherlands; Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch manufacturer with operations in over 100 countries and markets in over 150 countries; and WWF, the global conservation organization.
For more information:
WWF Latin America and Caribbean Programme
Tel: +1 202 778 9626
WWF Forest Conversion Initiative
Tel: +41 44 297 2225