WASHINGTON -- March 7 -- News Advisory:
WHAT: Sustainable Soy Conference
The first ever-global Roundtable on Sustainable Soy (RSS) will gather environmental and social organizations with businesses representatives from the soy supply chain, from growers to fodder mills, meat producers, and retailers to discuss environmentally sound, socially responsible, and economically viable production of soy.
WHERE: Hotel Bourbon, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
WHEN: March 17-18
To obtain more information, please visit: http://www.sustainablesoy.org
Accreditation for journalists: Please request the accreditation form by sending an e-mail to email@example.com
The soy boom
Soy is one of the fastest growing industries in South America. While its production is a major source of income, the extensive cultivation also brings about high ecological and social costs.
The cultivated area for soybean has more than doubled over the past 10 years in the main soy producing countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. Soy exports from these countries are boosted by a high demand in the European Union and China, where the crop is used to feed pigs, chickens, and cattle.
Soy demand is expected to increase by 60 per cent in the next 20 years, which could lead to the loss of an additional 16 million hectares of savannahs, and 6 million hectares of tropical forests in the region according to a recent WWF's study. Much of this could be avoided if soy was grown on existing pastures, and alternated with cattle ranching, rather than at the expense of valuable natural habitats.
WWF is convinced that soy production can go hand in hand with conservation of forests and with the preservation of livelihoods of people by adopting proper land-use planning and good plantation practices such as buffer zones, species protection, sustainable water management, and responsible use of agrochemicals.
The RSS is an initiative of WWF and a group of committed stakeholders:
Coop Switzerland -- A Swiss retailer active for several years in the field of sustainable production of food and non-food products.
Cordaid -- Catholic international organization for relieve and development aid, based in the Netherlands.
Fetraf-Sul/CUT -- Workers Federation in Family Agriculture of South Region. It has more than 150 unions of rural workers in the south region of Brazil.
Grupo Andre Maggi -- Brazilian producer based in the area of Mato Grosso. This group processes above 3,000 tons a day of soybean and produces nearly 400,000 tons per year.
Unilever -- Anglo Dutch manufacturer with operations in over 100 countries, and markets in over 150 countries.
WWF -- the global conservation organization, is the largest and most respected independent conservation organization in the world. WWF´s involvement in the RSS comes through the Forest Conversion Initiative, a program to ensure that palm oil and soy expansion no longer threatens valuable forests and endangered species.
"Managing the soy boom" -- This WWF-commissioned report describes the expansion of soy cultivation in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay and develops scenarios for the future.
Three case studies on social and environmental impacts of soy production in Brazil:
Reports and factsheets are available at: http://www.panda.org/forests/conversion
For further information:
Monica Echeverria, communications coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, WWF-International, TEL: 202-778-96-26 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cellular number in Brazil, during the conference: (55-61) 8162-3182
Dieter Muller, communications officer, WWF Forest Conversion Initiative, WWF-Switzerland, TEL: 41-44-297-22-25, or email@example.com