Building on a project first announced in June, the U.S. Soybean Export Council Tuesday released the official sustainability certification for U.S. soy, which provides exporters with verification that the soy products they sell on the world market are raised in a sustainable manner.
The certification is verified by the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol, developed by the United Soybean Board, USSEC and the American Soybean Association.
Creation of the SSAP and its official sustainability certification for exported soy products is based on four components of U.S. sustainable soy production: sound environmental objectives, social responsibility, promoting economic growth and continuous improvement in technology and cultural practices.
"It is essential that we show the rest of the world what we are doing with regard to best management practices on the farm and best social practices in the community," says Laura Foell, USB farmer-leader. "Farmers are doing the right thing and striving for continuous improvement. We need to make sure our customers know that."
The SSAP provides proof of reductions in carbon emissions, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and soil erosion per acre of soybeans grown and per bushel of soybeans produced in the United States.
Certification is done at shipment point by Soy Export Sustainability, LLC, based on an aggregate system representing nationwide soybean production.
The sustainability certification is also based on farmer participation in U.S. farm programs. Currently, 95% of U.S. farms participate, according to USSEC. Thus, USDA estimates of total soybean supply are multiplied by 0.95 to determine "U.S. sustainable" soy supply.
USSEC, USB and ASA will continue to implement the new program this fall through a series of meetings with soy customers in the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey and also U.S. soy farmers' largest market – China.