Kesko commits to use responsibly produced soy

Kesko, Arla Finland, HKScan Finland and Unilever Finland have initiated a Finnish soy commitment in cooperation with WWF Finland. The members of the commitment pledge to ensure that by 2020 all the soy used in the production chain of their private label products will be responsibly produced, either Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) or ProTerra certified soy.

The Finnish soy commitment covers both the Finnish production chain and sourcing from other countries. Certification applies to the origin and production chain of soy and will be made by an independent third party. The more than a hundred criteria of this certification include audits of the environment, the local community and working conditions. The RTRS and ProTerra certificates of responsible production significantly reduce the environmental impacts of soy cultivation by preventing natural environments and threatened areas from being turned into cultivated land.

”WWF has worked for years at an international level to promote the adoption of responsible soy. It is great that companies have realised the importance of our message. This is an important step and a concrete example of how companies’ sourcing can have a direct influence on their environmental impacts. We encourage other Finnish operators to accept the challenge,” says Liisa Rohweder, CEO, WWF Finland.

We challenge other operators to join in

The Finnish soy commitment is an open group. Its contents and members are presented at http://wwf.fi/soijasitoumus/. The founding members of the commitment ─ Kesko, Arla Finland, HKScan Finland, Unilever Finland and WWF Finland ─ challenge other Finnish operators to join in. The participating companies pledge to ensure that by 2020 all soy used in the production chain of their private label products will be responsibly produced, either RTRS or ProTerra certified soy. The companies will annually report publicly on their progress in achieving the commitment.

Soy production has environmental and social impacts

Soy is one of the most cultivated plants in the world. Soy is an ingredient in many foods and soy feed is used in the production of foods of animal origin.

Six percent of soy is produced directly for human consumption; most of it is used as an ingredient in feeds for farmed animals and ends up on our tables through meat and dairy products and eggs.

The largest environmental impacts resulting from the continuous expansion of soy cultivation areas particularly in South America relate to deforestation, the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the loss of biodiversity, and erosion. Soy cultivation is reported to cause social problems related for instance to land ownership and distribution of income.

RTRS promotes sustainable soy cultivation and responsible soy production

The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) is an international initiative on responsible soy production in which various stakeholders work together to ensure the sustainable cultivation of soy and the social responsibility in the soy production.

Kesko has become a member of the RTRS organization and it thereby committed to promote responsibility in the production chain of soy on a long-term and target-oriented basis. Both economic, social and environmental considerations must be taken into account in the production of soy.  

Kesko recommends that responsible RTRS or ProTerra certified soy be used in the ingredients of soy origin of the grocery trade’s private label foods, in the production of products of animal origin and as an ingredient of the animal feed products sold by the agricultural trade. The objective is that by 2020 only responsible RTRS or ProTerra certified soy will be used in these products.

Read Kesko's soy policy in full.

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