Learn how was the ProTerra 4th International Non-GMO Soy Conference in Germany

The ProTerra 4th International Non-GMO Soy Conference, Creating Responsible and Scalable Food Supply Chain, held from 30-31 January 2019 in Bremen, Germany, provided a unique opportunity for interaction among various levels of stakeholders and players from the food and feed supply chain. Check out the complete agenda.

For the conference moderator and master of ceremony, the event counted with Dr Tanja Busse, German author and journalist specialised in agriculture, sustainability and food systems.

Opening by Executive Director

In her opening remarks, Veronica Rubio, ProTerra Foundation Executive Director since September of 2018, pointed out the urgent need to address the issues in the food and feed supply chains, showing the following alarming numbers on food waste, climate-related disasters and human direct dependence on forest as a source of biodiversity, energy, water and soil conservation.

If these issues are important for all of us, how much involvement do we want to get? How much is “sustainability” part of our personal and work agendas? These were the two questions that kicked off the conference inviting for an open and constructive dialogue and potential partnerships.

Keynote – Lidl Stiftung

Judith Kontny, International Sustainability Consultant at Lidl Stiftung presented the work and progress done by Lidl in the meat supply chain and stressed the need for the whole sector to engage and work together towards the sustainable soy production, pushing the German market towards non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) soy.

Panel Session 1 – Now Meets Next

Ms Shivani Kannabhiran, Policy Analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), made an excellent presentation on the latest developments on sustainability and the Food Supply Chains, particularly from the lens of the OECD Due diligence guidance for responsible agriculture . The fact that other panellist could not attend, allowed great interaction with the public.

Keynote – Argentinian Consul and Kumagro

It was an honour to count with the presence of the Consulate General of the Argentine Republic, Mr Brun who stressed the great consumers demand for meat produced with non-GMO animal feed and how Argentina can be a trustworthy partner to this market.

The presentation of Daniel Grobocopatel from Kumagro, illustrated how this Argentine company develops, produces, categorizes and exports NON-GMO grains as raw material necessary to manufacture high quality food and feed. This full traceability system from seeds to final product portrayed Kumagro as a great business partner for markets interested in non-GMO soybeans.

Panel Session 2 – The unseen risks in our supply chain

Many companies are already working towards practical solutions to ensure social and environmental sustainability in the food and feed supply chains. The second Panel Session, “The Unseen Risks in our Supply Chain, with Different Sector Insights” aimed at sharing concrete, and operational challenges that companies working in the food and feed supply chains may face when implementing their sustainability strategies and how they try to overcome them. The three panellists, all from Brazil, were:

  1. Ricardo Arioli Silva, a farmer in Campo Novo do Parecis, Brazil, and Coordinator of the Commission for Socio-environmental Sustainability at Aprosoja (Soybean Producers Association);
  2. Juliana de Lavor Lopes, responsible for AMAGGI’s Sustainability, Communications and Compliance Board.
  3. Ricardo de Sousa, Executive Director at EBD Poliois Vegetais.

Parallel Breakout Sessions

Parallel breakout sessions explored hands-on solutions on the following subjects:

“Sourcing a Better Tomorrow”: What are the social and environmental risks and opportunities we should be aware through the supply chain? How can we involve and engage with the different actors in the supply chain?

“The Good, the Bad and the Meaty”: What can be done concretely to shift and positively transform the meat supply chain?

“Who‘s Wielding the Chain Reactions?”: What are the causes and possible solutions to tackle deforestation?

The conference was full of insightful presentations, discussion panels and debates, where participants could share information and ideas on how to go on with the sustainability agenda. Participants debated about social and environmental risks of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) soybeans, offering practical solutions to promote traceable, sustainable non-GMOs in the food supply chain. Business and non-business organizations were encouraged to assess the GMO sustainability risks and sought together for practical solutions to promote traceable non-GMOs in the food supply chains.

Wrap-up and Next Steps

Heading to the end of the conference, Veronica Rubio wrapped up the key lessons learned during the conference listed and presented the new ProTerra Standard version 4.0

While the complexity and social environmental challenges in the food and feed supply chain may look overwhelming, the conference left an aftertaste that cooperation between the different actors and governments is possible, and the ProTerra Foundation can be a facilitator of that.

Finally, Veronica Rubio invited the participants to participate in one of the three ProTerra Challenges.

The three challenges invite companies to use the next 365 days to map out strengths, resources and define KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) regarding:

  • Meat transformation supply chain;
  • Deforestation and climate;
  • Cascade the sustainability commitments.

The best action plans will be shortlisted and awarded in the ProTerra 5th Conference in 2020.