In January 2017, Aprosoja-MT, ABIOVE, FEDIOL, FEFAC and IDH signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to stimulate the production and trade of Brazilian responsible soy. As a follow-up to this agreement, a 1st steering group meeting with approximately 20 people was held in São Paolo on April 6-7 to discuss and evaluate individual actions and projects that may feed into a joint strategic working plan for the Brazilian and European soy supply chain partners.
The partners updated each other on their respective initiatives since the signing of an agreement this January to address responsible soy production in Brazil. Partners include: Association of Soybean and Maize Producers of the State of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja); Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oils Industries (ABIOVE); Federation for European Oil and Proteinmeal Industry (FEDIOL); European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC); and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).
Aprosoja briefed the partners on the progress made on Soja Plus, a rural property management program for soy farmers taking into account financial, social and environmental elements. They explained “geocloud,” a system that tracks technical visits to farmers in real-time and optimizes report sharing with farmers. Aprosoja also has developed “Referencia,” which focuses on the financial management of properties and integrates the Soja Plus program. They also highlighted a pilot project in Mato Grasso, with financial and technical support from IDH, to incentivize the recuperation of degraded land by farmers.
FEFAC told the partners that it wants to increase the responsible production of raw materials used in animal feed. They also highlighted the progress being made on the preparation of the benchmarking of the Soja Plus program against the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines, which would be essential for its recognition as a responsible soy program to the E.U. feed industry.
FEDIOL stated the importance of informing European institutions about the progress made in environmental governance in Brazil in both the public and private sector, especially in the context of the new Forest Code.
ABIOVE emphasized its implementation of the Soja Plus program in the states of Piauí, Maranhão and Goiás and plans to expand the coverage in Minas Gerais and Bahia. They reminded the partners that more than 50% of deforestation in the Amazon takes place on property owned by the government and cannot be tackled by the private sector.
IDH highlighted its work this year on the stimulation of supply chain systems that facilitate the connection between sustainable production and its respective market demand. A supply chain model that allows capturing the value generated by the Soja Plus program is an example. They told the partners about the $400 million investment by the World Economic Forum to stop illegal deforestation in tropical areas, facilitate reforestation and boost farming.
IDH also marked the importance of Produce, Conserve & Include (PCI), a development strategy in the fight against climate change. It is meant to attract investments to Mato Grosso to pool and integrate the different parties involved to obtain investments and tools to reach good agricultural practices.
The NGO Earth Innovation Institute contributed to the meeting with information about payment initiatives for environmental services to reduce CO2 emissions, such as the REDD, and its legal aspects. The consultant and lawyer Ludovino Lopes gave a presentation about existing environmental laws in Brazil and the challenges that need to be overcome.