Starting this year, Arla will buy RTRS certificates (Round Table on Responsible Soy) to cover 100 per cent of the soy Arla farmers in the six member countries, Denmark, Sweden, UK, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg use in feedstuff for their dairy cows. This means that now, Arla has a concrete action plan to implement the Board of Director’s decision from 2012 to support a responsible soy production.
“It is our responsibility as a large dairy operator to help drive the development towards a more sustainable feedstuff production. Buying RTRS certificates and actively seeking alternatives to soy in cattle feed are concrete examples of our overall sustainability efforts, while also being a clear signal to the feed industry that we want to develop more sustainable soy and alternatives to soy,” says Anna-Karin Modin-Edman, Sustainability expert at Arla.
As early as 2012, Arla's Board of Directors decided to bring forward the transition to 100 per cent re-sponsibly grown soybeans from 2020 to 2015 and to initiate the purchase of certificates. Since then, Arla merged with other owners in Germany and the UK, but the decision regarding the certification of soy used by Arla farmers in cattle feed remains firm.
“We are a responsible company and we care about sustainability throughout our entire value-chain. Buying certificates comes as a natural next step following Arla’s Board decision in 2012 to support a responsible soy production,” says Henrik Damholt Jørgensen, Vice President, Global Member Services.
About RTRS (Round Table on Responsible Soy Association)
RTRS is a multi-stakeholder initiative which aims to facilitate a global dialogue on soy production that is economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally sound.
Soy cultivation has been criticised for deforestation, indiscriminate use of agrochemicals and for poor working conditions. The RTRS standards address these issues by:
• Prohibiting additional deforestation of sensitive areas for soy cultivation
• Requiring targets and an implementation plan to reduce potentially harmful agrochemicals
• Ensuring worker rights, such as freedom of association, non-discrimination and adequate training and safety equipment.
Arla has been a member of RTRS since 2010. Other members include: ADM, Ahold, Cargill, Carrefour, COOP, Danisco, FrieslandCampina, Lantmännen, Marks&Spencer, Nestle, LRF Mjölk and Unilever.
Facts about soy
• Arla farmers feed their cows mainly with feedstuff grown on or close to the dairy farm. Depending on the composition and nutritional content of the total ration, soy is added because it provides pro-tein of high quality. Soy content can range between zero to 10 per cent of the cow feed (0 to 5 per cent in Sweden);
• The soy used by Arla farmers is mainly sourced from Argentina and Brazil;
• In 2013, the area devoted to soy cultivation exceeded 1 million square kilometres (approximately equal to the combined area of Germany, Sweden and the UK);
• The total amount of soy used by Arla farmers in cow feed is estimated at approximately 480,000 tonnes, which is about 0.2 per cent of the global production;
• Only 2 to 3 per cent of the total soy production in 2013 was certified as responsible;
• Currently, about 70 per cent of soy in dairy feed is certified in Sweden (RTRS & ProTerra), 7 per cent in Denmark (RTRS) and none (RTRS) in Germany and the UK.
Arla Foods is a international dairy company owned by 12.000 farmers from Denmark, Sweden, The UK, Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg. Arla Foods is one of the strongest players in the international dairy arena, with a wide range of of dairy products of higest quality. Well known brands like Lurpak® and Castello® belongs to the Arla family. Arla Foods is also the worlds largest manufacturer of organic products.