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Report Cards Are in, and Soy Gets a Big, Fat ‘F’

Report Cards Are in, and Soy Gets a Big, Fat ‘F’

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) recently released the 2014 WWF Soy Report Card, and the news isn’t good for soy again. The report zooms in on 88 of Europe’s top retailers in the food service industry, consumer goods industry, animal products industry and animal feed companies, and looks at how well they incorporate sustainable practices in their operations. While a few companies have taken a sustainable soy stance, the majority are not even close.

Whats So Wrong With Soy?

This time, soy’s low score doesn’t have anything to do with health. While there are a ton of soy products on the shelves, soy is mainly grown as feed to fatten farm animals. The overwhelming demand for animal products means that a lot of soy is needed to keep up.

The environmental, animal and human costs are also overwhelming. Vasts parts of the Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco have been destroyed in order to produce soy. Pesticides and toxic chemicals have also been introduced to these rainforests, which are literally the “Lungs of our Planet,” and that we in turn inhale. Animals’ habitats have been degraded or lost. Indigenous peoples, namely in South America, have been forced out of their traditional lands. Besides the gross human rights violations, many areas are now hot spots of violent land disputes where many innocent environmental activists have been killed.

What Does Responsible Soy Look Like?

The WWF report would like to see companies using 100 percent responsibly sourced soy by 2015. In a perfect world, the soy wouldn’t come from areas where the forests, savannah or grasslands have recently been cleared. The soy should also come from producers equally committed to sustainability and best practices.

WWF Soy Report Card Highlights

Here are a few of the highlights and lowlights from the report:

  • Only 14 individual brands of the 88 committed to using only responsibly sourced soy by 2015. Another 13 companies agreed to a partial commitment.
  • Only 31 percent of surveyed companies agreed to fully or partially commit to only using responsibly sourced soy. In other words, only 31 percent were open to entertaining just the idea of responsible soy. On a positive note, a few companies have taken actionable steps to towards the responsible soy commitment.
  • Some of the commitments stem from national initiatives, while others were developed internally. The Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland are excellent examples of the positive difference that a national initiative can make.
  • There are other commitments. Some brands are considering a “deforestation-free” supply chain, and others have signed the Soy Moratorium to help the Brazilian Amazon.
  • 42 percent of companies have already bought responsibly sourced soy, but only six companies are up to 50 percent or more responsible soy.
  • 27 percent that responded to WWF’s inquiries made zero commitment to using responsibly sourced soy.
  • 32 companies didn’t bother to communicate their stance on responsible soy sources to WWF.

How You Can Help

Consumers don’t have to wait for countries or companies to solve the issue of responsible soy. Here are a few ways that you as a consumer can make a huge impact:

  • Demand that your favorite brands commit to responsible soy.
  • Vote with your dollar by purchasing companies that are on their way to responsible soy. Look for RTRS soy, RTRS-certified non-GMO soy or ProTerra certified soy.
  • Consume less animal products. Three-quarters of soy is produced for livestock animal feed. If you’ve flirted with going vegan or vegetarian, then give it a shot.
  • Reduce your food waste inside and outside of the home.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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1:21PM PDT on Jun 23, 2015

thanks for sharing :)

7:09PM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

No GMO soy for me!

1:56PM PDT on Jul 27, 2014

Avoid anything which doesn't clearly say Non GMO. Corn, Soy, Canola oil

3:42PM PDT on May 31, 2014

Or you can do yourself a health favour and not eat soya - the only type which is not really bad for you is the fermented kind,

1:53PM PDT on May 22, 2014

This is such a bunch of bull! Most of the soy is used for animal feed! Well da! If we weren't eating so much dead animal then the problem would be solved. But here we go again with our fat face meat shoveling society blaming soy and gluten and carbs and all the other negative media about NOT EATING MEAT!

5:17PM PDT on May 21, 2014


3:39AM PDT on May 21, 2014

Thank you for the useful information! It is every person's obligation to eat and choose responsibly so as to ensure that ALL gain benefit in the chain, from the ground to the table.

7:09AM PDT on May 20, 2014

Horrifying. Thanks for the info.

6:41AM PDT on May 20, 2014

Monsanto owns the patents to almost all of the worlds soy seeds. If things are screwed up, you an lay it on the shoulders of the company that is responsible for 98% of the worlds soy production.

5:36AM PDT on May 20, 2014

Oh, cry me a river. I have been a vegetarian for 18 years. There were not a lot of plant based sources of protein at the time, so of course, soy was part of my diet. It still is. I don't want to be in any way, a supporter of anything that harms our plant but what next? We all know that there are so many "bad" components to nearly "all" of the food products. There is also some good that comes from buying fruits and vegetables and soy etc. If everyone stops eating, maybe that will be the answer.

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