Certified Responsible Soya


CRS Standard

Global demand for soya has grown considerably in recent years and still is. To safeguard production of soya, current and future, is done in a responsible way, Cefetra developed its own standard (launched in 2008): the Certified Responsible Soya standard, CRS in short.

The CRS Standard is a high-level standard and includes important indicators such as zero-conversion/zero-deforestation. At the beginning a benchmarking study was performed and as a result also ISCC indicators were added. After the publication of the first version of the RTRS standard, additional indicators were included. Besides this, the CRS Standard is considered unique in its own right due to the following combination of elements covered:

  • Compliance with the law: All certified farmers must be able to show legal compliance with all applicable laws and legislation.
  • Zero-conversion: CRS standard does not allow any conversion (forest or other natural area) after 2009, and earlier for lands within the Amazon Biome.
  • Area Mass Balance supply chain model: Developed by and unique to Cefetra. See below of this page for more information.
  • Transparency: The CRS Standard only contains major indicators, resulting in transparency towards producers and other stakeholders.
  • Inclusion: CRS Standard provides an opportunity for large, medium, and small scale producers to obtain certification. For small-scale farmers it is possible to certify CRS by the use of group certification.
  • No double claiming: Within the CRS standard it is not possible to certify farms according to different certification standards. This is actively monitored during the yearly audits.
  • Long-term partnerships with farmers: Cefetra works closely together with farmers to ensure improvement of sustainable practices on the farm. Cefetra commits itself to long-term partnerships, meaning the farmer has a guaranteed outlet to Cefetra as soon as it becomes certified.
  • Periodicity: CRS Standard requires that all certified producers have to be audited on an annual basis.
  • Principles: CRS Standard covers the most important indicators to ensure ecologically sound and socially responsible soy.
  • Continuous Improvement: The CRS Standard focuses on continuous improvement on the farm.
  • Detailed audit/compliance report: Producers certified according the CRS Standard receive a detailed report that allows them to track their developments to ensure continuous improvement, communicate their performance to clients, and obtain loans from investors by demonstrating independent acknowledgement of their good practices.


For all details of the CRS standard, please check the standard, which can be found below.

Principle 1: Traceability

As commodity trade is typically done in cost-efficient bulk, alternative models of traceability have been developed to make sure the intended investments in sustainability are done where these bring sustainability to a higher level fastest. Regardless, the total volume of certified, sustainably produced soya must enter global supply chains in a measurable manner. Hence traceability at the start of supply chains is critical and is embedded in our standard.

Principle 2: Legal Compliance

Legal compliance is the base under all Cefetra does and sustainability is no exception to that. Producers shall understand and comply with all applicable laws, regulations and conventions. In addition to that they have chosen to also comply to our ‘above-legal’ Certified Responsible Soya standard’s requirements. Combined these make sure CRS-soya is produced with respect for the environment and its social setting, on- and off-farm.

Principle 3: Labour Conditions

Producers shall take the responsibility to provide safe and fair labor conditions to all the workers involved in the production of soya. The labour conditions’ requirements in Cefetra’s CRS standard are extensive and have proven to improve the lives of people working on soya farms.

Principle 4: Land Rights

Producers can demonstrate their legal rights for the land used to cultivate soybeans. With the CRS standard no farm is allowed to have unresolved land use claims between the farm and other groups, like for example indigenous groups. Only if both parties have agreed a farm can use the applicable land.

Principle 5: Environmental responsibility

Producers shall take measures to limit potential negative impacts on the land used for soya production and on the biodiversity in the direct surroundings of the production site. This includes zero-deforestation and zero-conversion of important natural landscapes, like, but not limited to the Amazon and Cerrado in Brazil.

Principle 6: Social Responsibility

Local communities and other relevant stakeholders are given the opportunity to contact the farmers. Farms must pro-actively offer this to relevant stakeholders. If complaints are raised, these are registered in a suitable manner and the producer shall take the appropriate actions.

Principle 7: Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)

Producers shall implement Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which are ‘practices that address environmental, economic and social sustainability for on-farm processes, and result in safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products’. This entails the use of machinery, the use of seed, as well as the responsible use of agro-chemicals.

Document download:

The CRS checklist can be found here.
The CRS normative document can be found here.
The CRS certification protocol can be found here.
The CRS Chain of Custody document can be found here.

Product regions:

CRS certified farms can be found in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. After an initial focus on Argentina and Brazil, the program is currently extending into Paraguay. The CRS certification program can be applied to all soybean production globally, from farmers, producers, cooperatives, associations or any other group able and willing to comply with the pre-established requirements.

Certification Process

The process of obtaining a CRS certification is composed of four basic steps, each dependent upon the previous one:

  1. Registration: Farmers provide the minimum required information for review by the certification body;
  2. Compliance with criteria: Certification body reviews the submitted information and accepts registration;
  3. Inspection: An audit is performed on-site to ensure compliance with the program’s principles;
  4. Certification: Once the audit is completed, and a farm is found to be in full compliance, then a certificate is issued to the farm.

Additionally, during the process to obtain the CRS certification, producers must give the certification body access to all parts of the units and premises for inspection purposes. It may also be required that the farmer must provide additional relevant supporting documentation to the certification body for review.

For more information, please contact us.

Supply chain model

Several supply chain models have been evaluated and the Area Mass Balance model was found to be one of the most efficient and effective systems for scaling up sustainable production, taking into account important factors such as costs, feasibility, added value and volume. This model provides you the opportunity to link producers to the purchasing companies, at fair costs. In other words, a supply chain model with the focus on scaling up the amount of certified producers and the volume of certified soy with the final goal of embedding certified sustainable soya in the supply chain and creating impact on the farms in the sourcing regions.

It is possible to supply CRS (and RTRS) credits according the Area Mass Balance supply chain model.

Area Mass Balance

The Area Mass Balance supply chain model is a combination of the Book & Claim system and the Mass Balance system. The principle of the CRS Area Mass Balance model is the following: farmers are selected and certified in areas where Cefetra sources its soya for the European feed industry. The physical flow of soya is bought directly from processors in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Based on general accepted logistical lines, the soya will finally end up at one of the ports in these countries. Cefetra is able to monitor and link specific crush regions to the volume of soybean meal which is loaded and shipped to the European ports. This means that the mass balance can be calculated based on the input (=certified farms) and output (=physical flow) of soya, crushed at a specific area, from South-America, and the input (=physical flow) of soya into the European ports.

In short, for credits delivered according the Area Mass Balance model, the same quantity of physical soya has been certified according to the requirements of the CRS/RTRS program in the same region. When credits are bought according to the Area Mass Balance model, the customer (e.g. compound feed producer/ retail) is assured that sustainable progress is realized on farms in the region where the soya is cultivated.

For Cefetra’s Area Mass Balance model the countries of origin are divided into sub-regions. Brazil is divided in three regions (i.e. North, Central and South Brazil), Argentina and Paraguay are divided in northern & southern regions, which is the basis of the mass balance calculation. Cefetra sources its physical flow mainly from the central and southern region of Brazil, and so a lot of effort is put into the certification of soya from this region. Next to that, certification efforts are also directed to farms in north-Argentina and south-Paraguay as physical soya is also originated from these regions. Cefetra has been sourcing soya from Paraguay only since a few years, and thus the certified volume of soya is modest yet growing.

The Cefetra soya certification program focuses on improvement at farm level, while gradually increasing the amount of certified responsible soya in the physical supply chain.


Currently Cefetra is the standard owner, yet the intention is to move to an industry-wide platform in which several stakeholders cooperate to achieve the goals of the CRS standard.

All farms are assessed on-site by Control Union Certifications, an independent Certification Body.

Independent assessments


Control Union Certifications, part of the Dutch Control Union World Group, provides a one-stop-shop for a wide range of certification programs, accepted by authorities in nearly every country around the globe. It is Cefetra’s partner for the Certified Responsible Soya scheme. As an independent certification company, Control Union Certifications ensures impartiality and objectivity in all its activities. Additional certification bodies may be added as the program grows.