Soil is a

a non - renewable


Soil is a vital, non-renewable resource for ecosystems, playing an essential role in services such as water purification and food production. It is also a major global carbon sink, with significant potential to remove climate-changing gases from the atmosphere.

However, the ability of soil to deliver ecosystem services — in terms of food production, as a biodiversity pool and as a regulator of gasses, water and nutrients — is under severe pressure.

This international initiative S.O.S. SOIL – Save Organics in Soil, led by the European Compost Network (ECN) and the Italian Composting and Biogas Association (CIC),  aims to highlight the importance of soil organic matter to encourage policy makers to develop instruments to move Europe towards implementing sustainable, climate proof soil management practices.


The main Priority Goals of the S.O.S. SOIL Initiative is to:

  • Increase Soil organic matter in arable soils
  • Encourage a more efficient management of nutrients on agricultural land
  • Protect the existing stock of carbon in soils
  • Minimize further losses of carbon from cultivated carbon rich soils


The MANIFESTO abstract

Main Priority Goals of the ‘SOS – Save Organics in Soil’ Initiative

To encourage policy makers to develop instruments to move Europe towards implementing sustainable, climate-proof land management practices, according to the priorities


the use of recycled nutrients and a more efficient management of nutrients on agricultural land. This would not only benefit the climate but also be particularly beneficial to improve water and air quality


soil organic matter in arable soils


that the European Union (EU) adopts legislative measures for protecting soils


further losses of carbon from cultivated carbon rich soils


a high level of organic fertility in soil by applying stable organic matter from biomass


the existing stock of carbon in soils


active in

SOS Soil

UNITY is strength


Help give visibility to the project,
join the many companies, associations, organizations and individuals who have already signed the manifesto.

Help give visibility to the project,
join the many companies, associations, organizations and individuals who have already signed the manifesto.

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SOS Soil

Save Organics

in soil



All the news of the project, read the news and the press review with the press releases.

ENVI Committee calls for legislative proposal to protect soil

After the public hearing on ‘Facing the sixth mass extinction and increasing risk of pandemics: what role for the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030’ in the European Parliament, the rapporteur of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament, Césare Luena (S&D), has presented the draft report on the Biodiversity Strategy on 13th of January 2021. The report underlines the importance of soil health on biodiversity and to combat against soil degradation and desertification. The ENVI Committee ‘underlines that the Biodiversity Strategy’s actions must adequately tackle all five main direct drivers of change in nature: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasive alien species.’ The report has finally to be adopted in the plenary of the European Parliament in the next months. The report of the ENVI committee can be assessed here.

Healthy Food with Healthy Soil

Thursday December 3rd, 2020

ISWA’s Soils Project publishes 4 reports on SOM

Bochum, 06 August 2020

The Project aims at ‘quantifying the benefit of organic matter in compost and digestate when applied to soils'

Caring for soil is caring for life

Bochum, 23 July 2020

The EU Commission has published an interim report of the Mission Board for Soil health and food

ICAW 2020: joined press release by international composting organisations

World, 3-9 May 2020

Compost organisations across the world, including ECN embrace the annual week of compost awareness raising.

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At the global level, the notion of preserving soil functionality has been embedded in the land-degradation-neutrality concept as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS, agreed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The SDGS also include targets on soil quality, soil contamination, the management of chemicals and waste. Implementation of the SDGS can provide an important vehicle for soil protection measures in Europe.

A Technical Report issued in November 2015 by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research pointed out that CO, emissions by EU soil organic matter losses amount to 173 M ton CO,/year: it means that the EU is, after Indonesia and before the Russian Federation, the World’s second largest emission hotspot due to organic soil degradation, mainly induced by human activities.

Land-use data at European level, although underestimated, display an annual trend of approximately 100.000 hectares of land lost per year because of sprawling growth of settlements and infrastructures over green fields. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA) land recycling, such as reusing neglected sites and turning roads or parking lots to green spaces or residential areas, can have positive impacts on the environment and support Europe’s transition towards a circular and green economy.

The Seventh Environment Action Programme, which entered into force in January 2014, recognises that soil degradation is a serious challenge. It provides that by 2020 land is managed sustainably in the Union, soil is adequately protected and commits the EU and its Member States to increasing efforts to reduce soil erosion and increase soil organic matter and to remediate contaminated sites. The subsequent Horizon 2020 programme stresses the importance of increasing organic matter in soils as a way of improving soil fertility, increasing agricultural production, and mitigating climate change. However, only a few EU Member States have specific legislation on soil protection. Currently soil is not subject to a comprehensive and coherent set of rules in the Union. Existing EU policies in areas such as agriculture, water, waste, chemicals, and prevention of industrial pollution do indirectly contribute to the protection of soils. But since these policies have other aims and scopes, they are not sufficient tools to ensure an adequate level of protection for soils in Europe.

The conclusions of the recently issued ‘Inventory and Assessment of Soil Protection Policy Instruments in EU Member States’ (Feb 2017), commissioned by the EC, highlight that the lack of a coherent, strategic EU policy framework is not consistent with the objectives of an economic and political Union that should provide for uniformity of rules, and ensure equal opportunities for citizens and businesses, with a common level of environmental and health protection.

According to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN, we are striving for a land degradation neutral world by the year 2030. The European Commission wants to achieve no more net land take in Europe by 2050 at the latest. Yet no comprehensive EU policy tool to achieve that goal in a well coherent and coordinated way is in place.