Non-GM soy more sustainable than GM – study

Lower pesticide use, higher price premiums, and lower greenhouse gas emissions mean non-GM soy is better for farmers and the environment

An important new study shows that the Brazilian non-GMO soybean meal supply chain is more sustainable than the GMO soybean chain.

Will the WWF-supported Round Table for Responsible Soy now stop endorsing GM soy as “responsible”? We’re not holding our breath.

From the new study’s conclusion:

“Our results show that the non-GM soybean meal chain is more sustainable than the GM chain. Quantity differences (TFP component) include a lower use of biocides, i.e. pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, in the non-GM chain. The main price difference (TPR [Total Price Recovery] component) is associated with the price premium paid per ton of non-GM soybean meal, which reflects consumer preference for non-GM products. In contrast, the GM soybean meal chain has a lower emission of GHGs [greenhouse gases] at the transport to port stage due to a lower amount of fossil fuel used in transportation. This is because GM soybean production is mainly found in the southern Brazilian states that are closer to the ports.”

Benchmarking the sustainability performance of the Brazilian non-GM and GM soybean meal chains: An indicator-based approach

Gaitán-Cremaschi, D., Kamali, F. P., van Evert, F. K., Meuwissen, M. P., & Lansink, A. G. O. (2015). Food Policy, 55, 22-32.


•    An indicator-based approach for benchmarking products in terms of their sustainability is proposed.
•    We used the approach for benchmarking of two Brazilian soybean meal chains.
•    The non-GM soybean meal chain resulted more sustainable than the GM chain.
•    The approach proved to be an useful approach for evaluating and comparing chain sustainability.


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