COMMENT from GMWatch: We're very disturbed by apparent attempts by WWF and others to set up so-called "sustainability criteria" for GM soy.

We very much hope our readers will help make those behind this misguided project fully aware of the strong concerns about what they're doing.

WWF is one of the most established environmental organizations in the world. For some time, though, there has been growing concern over its involvement in the 'Round Table on Responsible Soy'. But this project did not previously focus, at least explicitly, on GM soy.

Now WWF has launched a 'GM Soy Debate' in the Netherlands with Solidaridad
(their partner NGO in the Round Table) and with the Dutch University of Wageningen - see:

The website states:

"The current debate on Genetically Modified (GM) soy is polarised and
unsatisfactory. Without compromising on the relevance of the pro or contra
discussion on GM, the GM soy Debate starts from the observation that GM
soy is already a major agricultural crop. As such, it should be produced
as sustainably as possible. The lack of a shared knowledge database and an
open dialectic have so far stood in the way of a constructive discussion
on how to achieve this."

Many environmental groups that have been invited by WWF to a stakeholders conference on this topic on December 9th have refused to attend because of their total opposition to this initiative.

The reasons for opposition include:

1. GM is not a sustainable technology and so any association with 'sustainability' will lead to confusion - in effect greenwashing GM, and consequently a likely expansion of its use.

2. GM soya is the biggest cause of destruction of the Amazon, and is also
causing degradation of other precious environments. Further, the expansion
of GM soya cultivation is being used to force indigenous peoples and small
farmers off their land. This is ethically and socially unacceptable.

3. Industrial, intensive, monoculture soya production is unsustainable per
se. GM has helped drive this expansion as well as adding all the other risks
inherent in GM crops.

WWF/Solidaridad's involvement in this project will be used not only to support existing GM soya production, but as an excuse to expand it still further. WWF should not be assisting the GM multinationals in this way, but should instead be working with all the other international NGOs, social movements and small farmers' organisations that oppose GM soya production, and intensive soya production.

Focus should shift to alternatives to soya, like locally produced animal feed, the use of grazing, and to the issues of consumption, over-consumption and waste.

Please write to WWF to let them known your concerns at their involvement in this greenwashing initiative. Their contact details are available here:

Please note that on the project website, WWF Netherlands is down as the GM soy project sponsor, but the steering committee includes WWF International

So it's worth taking up your concerns with WWF International and with WWF in your own country, as well as with WWF directors, project directors and trustees, anywhere in the world.