Forest Legislations 1
Archer Daniels Midland, the third largest global supplier of agricultural commodities and one of the world’s leading soy traders, is launching their Responsible Soy Standard. Under this new programme, yearly assessments will be conducted by expert third parties to determine if growers are complying with a number of environmental, legal, social and agronomic standards.
Despite soy production acting as a leading driver of deforestation across South America, palm oil has remained the priority commodity for companies in the fight against deforestation. While 117 private companies have pledged to reduce the impact of their involvement with palm oil, only 27 have done the same with soy. It is hoped that ADM’s commitment could lead to other organisations following their lead and expanding their commitments to deforestation across commodities.
Experts have warned, however, that although commitments like these have led to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, the problem is simply being moved elsewhere. Much of the conversion of natural ecosystems for soy cultivation now occurs in other areas including Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Experts are warning that the focus on Brazil, which hosts 60% of the Amazonian rainforest, is deflecting attention from increasing Amazonian deforestation in neighbouring countries such as Bolivia, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela. The main driver is considered to be the commodities boom centred on exports to China and other Asian economies. Conservation International in Bolivia say that government policies and subsidies encourage business development in the Amazon which inevitably leads to deforestation.
CIFOR highlighted the need for a new approach to enabling smallholder and community-managed forests to achieve certification in a side event organised by FSC at the RIO+20 Conference. They used an example in Bolivia where cases of theft were reported among the members. CIFOR believe that one of the reasons for this is due to insecurity as a result of formalising property rights which have cut some community members off from their traditional harvesting area. Additionally, the requirement to rotate no-take zones could lead to conflict within the community. CIFOR is in the process of collaboratively developing a new paradigm for smallholder and community forest management which will take into account the differing uses community members have for the forest and acknowledge that collective decision-making in a community may not be feasible.