With its Soy Sourcing Guidelines, FEFAC wants to facilitate mainstream market supply for soy which is produced in accordance with baseline social and
environmental criteria. In addition, FEFAC aims to provide transparent information on existing initiatives on responsible soy via a benchmark, and to raise awareness about the need for chain cooperation to
facilitate market transformation.
Status of the Guidelines
The Sourcing Guidelines are a professional recommendation. Individual companies are to take the final decision on the sourcing of their soy products and whether they are buying them in accordance with the guidelines or not.
Items covered in the Guidelines
The FEFAC Sourcing Guidelines are not a new standard, but list a number of social and environmental issues that must be addressed by soy programs or standards. The FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines cover six principles. Each principle is subdivided into a number of concrete criteria. A distinction is made between essential criteria and desired criteria. All essential criteria and at least 5 desired criteria have to be included in soy programmes or standards in order to be in compliance with the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines. Over time, the ambition level of the guidelines will increase in relation with the realised volume of soy sourced in accordance with the Guidelines.
FEFAC has not only listed a number of social and environmental items that have to be addressed in soy programmes or schemes, but also a number of verification requirements to ensure a reasonable certainty that these criteria are indeed met in practice. With its verification requirements, FEFAC will not only focus on certification whereby an independent third party audits all farmers; it also wants to allow for other approaches including first and second party verification. However, FEFAC does require the presence of an accredited independent third party in such situations to check whether the internal control system or other verification mechanism is likely to lead to credible results (in other words: that the farmers do indeed meet all criteria).
Chain of custody
FEFAC has not included any requirements for the chain of custody in its guidelines because this is beyond the scope and mandate of FEFAC. However, FEFAC considers it important to stress that eventually a mainstream transition towards responsible soy can only be arranged in the physical supply chain in close cooperation with all supply chain partners. This means that in the longer term area mass balance and mass balance should be considered as preferred supply chain models.
Although FEFAC understands and acknowledges the importance of the Book & Claim supply chain model to raise demand for and production of responsible soy in the short term, it wants to emphasize that there should always be a clear link between the sourcing country and the efforts of market parties to make soy production more responsible. FEFAC considers it undesirable when certificates are bought from farmers in one country in order to use the sustainability claim for soy from another country. Therefore it is strongly recommended to buy physical soy from the same country as where the Book & Claim certificates are issued.