domingo, abril 11, 2010

Round Table on Responsible Soy suffers setbacks

The RTRS lost one of its key members this week when the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries ABIOVE announced they would leave. ABIOVE has disappeared from the RTRS membership list, but according to TraceConsult,“ABIOVE will not go public with this information as they do not intend to discredit the RTRS.”[1] Another important RTRS member, APROSOJA, representing large Brazilian soy producers, already left last year because of the ‘deforestation clause’ included in the round table's basic set of Principles and Criteria. As TraceConsult points out, “With APROSOJA defecting already lastyear and ABIOVE tip-toeing out now, the world’s second largest soy producing country, Brazil, is hardly represented in the RTRS any longer.” It is no coincidence that ABIOVE, also this week, has announced its own certification:SOJA PLUS. The objectives of SOJA PLUS are clear: an even cheaper and simpler certification system to repair the damaged image of Brazilian soy producers.


Another RTRS member, Patagonia Bioenergia, has hired one of Brussels’ mostcontroversial PR agencies, Burson Marsteller, to set up meetings with Membersof European Parliament. Laetitia Bourgeix of Burson Marsteller wrote to severalMEPs on behalf of Federico Pochat, CEO at Patagonia Bioenergia S.A andExecutive Director of CARBIO (Argentinean Chamber of Biofuels) to arrangemeetings in mid-February. Bourgeix mentioned that Mr Pochat would like todiscuss “... aspects of the Renewable Directive like default and actual values,sustainability criteria and trade issues”.[4] “As a key player in theArgentinean biofuels industry and member of the Round Table of Responsible Soy(RTRS), he would like to explain that Argentinean biodiesel is one of theworld’s most competitive and sustainable biofuels, adhering to the highestinternational environmental standards”, the Burson Marsteller lobbyist wrote.


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