International soybean buyers driving the need for farm-level sustainability assurance

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What drives demand for sustainably grown soybeans? Is there a need for a sustainability program for Canadian grown soybeans and what would that look like?

It’s not just identity-preserved value chains that are seeing an increased demand for record keeping and assurances, says Brian Innes, executive director at Soy Canada.

“What we’re seeing is the need to have a verified sustainability program back to the farm level that shows our customers what practices are being put in place on the farm, and can show them how the soybeans they’re buying are sustainable,” Innes says.

International buyers are driving this farm-level ask, so that their customers can have confidence that the tofu and soy milk, as well as the feed that is made with Canadian soybeans, comes from a sustainable source.

The drive for more sustainability assurance comes from the Japanese and European market, primarily. Depending on the end-use customer, even soybeans destined for livestock may require a sustainability paper trail.

Innes says that regardless of what the overall grain industry may or may not move forward with regarding the Responsible Grain code of practice, the soybean industry is forging ahead.

“We have a strong mandate to implement a system. There have been lots of discussions around Responsible Grain, but those discussions are nowhere near implementation,” Innes says.

One thing that is certainly clear from Soy Canada’s perspective, he says, is that there needs to be a verification program in place.

Listen below to the full interview with Brian Innes, where he explains what a verification system that might look like for farmers, if there will be premiums to cover the added work, and where this type of system puts Canada in relation to its export competitors:

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