With the U.S. soybean industry's ambition of a sustainable future, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and another U.S. exporter have partnered with the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) to certify U.S. soy as part of the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol-Renewable Energy Directive (SSAP-RED) program. This voluntary program, with support from the United Soybean Board, meets the specific requirements of the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive and sources SSAP-RED-verified soybeans as feedstock for the production of biodiesel.
This biofuel market opportunity for U.S. farmers is in response to EU member states’ requirement to fulfill a minimum of 20% of their total energy needs with renewable sources, with at least 10% attributed directly to transportation fuels by 2020. With the U.S. soybean industry-wide commitment to cleaner alternatives globally, this program addresses the specific requirements of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive regulations, including restrictions on land conversion with guidelines on auditing, compliance and reporting.
“U.S. soy exports play an instrumental role in not only providing a high-quality food, feed, fiber and biofuel but also delivering a product that is sustainably-grown and responds to customers’ demands,” USSEC chief executive officer Jim Sutter said. “Despite challenges with COVID-19, weather conditions and trade uncertainty, our U.S. soybean farmers remain dedicated and eager to supply a reliable and renewable product. It’s also making a big difference for EU consumers’ confidence in the agricultural supply chain as well as air quality.”
ADM’s involvement in SSAP-RED marks the second U.S. exporter to implement this initiative, and more are expected to participate. It provides local farmers, elevators and the U.S. soybean value chain holistically with new market opportunities in the EU, which is a substantial buyer of U.S. soybeans. Expanding opportunities for U.S. soy, including sustainable biofuels, and ensuring market access across the EU and the rest of the globe, is a key focus for USSEC.
“The completion of our SSAP-RED accreditation is another step toward the long-term sustainable goals of ADM,” said Nick Smith, general manager of ADM’s EU Biodiesel program. “By leveraging ADM’s value chain from farmer origination in the U.S. to our crushing and biodiesel facilities in Europe, we are now able to provide our biodiesel customer base in Europe with year-round options for sustainably sourced soy-based biofuel.”
Farmers interested in participating in the SSAP-RED voluntary program must deliver their soybeans to a certified elevator that is tributary to an ADM river terminal and sign a “self-declaration” that attests to their compliance with the requirements of the Renewable Energy Directive as well as the application of good agricultural practices. Sustainability requirements of the Renewable Energy Directive restrict cultivation of biofuel feedstocks from land that has been converted, since 2008, from any of three protected land categories: grasslands, forest and wetlands, including peatlands. It also has requirements on auditing and compliance, including independent third-party review.
“Meeting the EU’s sustainability standards with our products is a point of pride for U.S. soybean farmers, and we’re dedicated to meeting the demands of our customers, including environmentally friendly fuel alternatives made with U.S. soy,” said USSEC chair Monte Peterson, a board member of the American Soybean Assn. and soybean farmer in Valley City, N.D. “The SSAP-RED on-farm assessment is a painless process for growers to complete, and the more growers who sign up, the more it strengthens the U.S. soy value chain overall as a competitive supplier of sustainably-produced soybeans to biodiesel producers.”
Farmers interested in participating in the SSAP-RED program can learn more at www.ssap-red.org.