U.S. Soy Sustainability certificates increase value for global customers
BY MARY PECK
International customers of U.S. Soy can better demonstrate their commitment to sourcing sustainable ingredients now that the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) allows the transfer of SSAP certificates up to four times.
U.S. Soy customers have long sought more transparency in the sustainability of their purchases. This recent change to the SSAP by Soy Export Sustainability, LLC, which is partially funded by the national soybean checkoff, allows customers to keep records of their sustainable U.S. Soy purchases, use these purchases to meet their ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals, and report on their progress toward those goals. Importers will be able to receive a certificate in their name from an exporter, the importer will then be able to transfer certificates to their customers. The certificate has the potential to be transferred a total of four times after export.
“Ensuring sustainable sourcing of products is central to our commitment to responsible supply chains. We are glad to see continuous improvement of the SSAP certifications, as well as the transparent and credible methodologies in place for measuring sustainable performance,” said Dessislava Barzachka, EA Sustainability Execution Manager, Bunge. “Transferable certificates are key to our customers and our business to track and verify that the soy products we source are raised in a sustainable manner, leading to greater sustainability of the global food system.”
The SSAP, which was developed in 2013, is a verified aggregate approach, audited by third parties, that verifies sustainable soybean production on a national scale. The system is designed to maintain mass balance of verified sustainable soy at each transfer and industry processing calculations are also incorporated into the system. The organization issuing and tracking the certificates is Soy Export Sustainability, LLC.
While this change meets the buyers’ needs for demonstrating their commitment to sourcing sustainable soy in the short-term, in the long-term the change could also help generate demand for their products because of consumer preferences for sustainable products.
Under the SSAP guidelines, U.S. soybean farmers continuously improve their sustainability performance, ensuring an even more sustainable product in the future. U.S. Soy is already recognized as having the lowest carbon footprint versus soy of other origins. In addition, the SSAP includes farm audits conducted by the USDA. SSAP recently earned Silver Level Equivalence when benchmarked with the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform)’s Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) 3.0. It is also positively benchmarked with the soy sourcing guidelines of the European Feed Manufacturers Federation (FEFAC) through the independent International Trade Centre (ITC) and is recognized by the Consumer Goods Forum’s Sustainable Soy Sourcing Guidelines and the Global Seafood Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices.
“U.S. soybean farmers have a strong commitment to sustainability, so we are always exploring how we can support their efforts to verify the sustainability of their products. The SSAP does that, but now with transferable certificates, it allows for that verification to be passed along to their other customers,” said Abby Rinne, Director of Sustainability, U.S. Soybean Export Council.
USSEC is a founding member of Soy Export Sustainability, LLC focused on differentiating, elevating preference, and
attaining market access for U.S. Soy.