Soy production and certification: the case of Argentinean soy-based biodiesel

April 2010
23 pages

Julia Tomei, Stella Semino, Helena Paul, Lilian Joensen, Mario Monti & Erling Jelsøe

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 15(4): 371-394, DOI: 10.1007/s11027-010-9225-2

With the rising emphasis on biofuels as a potential solution to climate change, this paper asks whether certification schemes, developed to promote sustainable feedstock production, are able to deliver genuine sustainability benefits. The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) is a certification scheme that aims to promote responsible soy production through the development of principles and criteria. However, can and does this initiative address the negative impacts associated with the intensive production of soy? Taking the example of soy biodiesel produced in Argentina, this paper asks whether the social and environmental impacts of soybean production can be mitigated by the RTRS. It concludes that at present certification schemes are unlikely to be able to address either the institutional challenges associated with their implementation or the detrimental impacts of the additional demand generated by biofuels.