Feed production is a significant contributor to animal protein’s carbon footprint, and retailer and consumer pressures place greater demands on suppliers to explain where products come from and how they are produced.
In the 2021 Food and Health Survey, 42% of consumers believed individual food and beverage choices have a moderate or significant impact on the environment and 53% said it would have a greater influence on decision-making if the impact was easier to understand.
Whether the animal industry is ready or not, complete supply chain transparency, including animal food production, is on the horizon.
In Feed Strategy’s recent 2021 Swine Feed Outlook, relative to animal food industry data provision, an industry expert indicated that a company’s ability to respond and commit to transparency on sustainability aspects will differentiate it from the competition and that those who cannot provide that information will be out of business.
Seeing this data challenge on the horizon, the Institute for Feed Education & Research (IFEEDER), in partnership with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), is pursuing a strategy to equip member companies with tools to build or grow internal sustainability programs, respond to product transparency demands and communicate their sustainability stories to a variety of audiences.
The Context Network, a global food and agribusiness consulting firm with experience in sustainability initiatives across grain commodities and animal protein production and processing, is helping IFEEDER develop its road map.
This work will allow the animal food industry to align sustainability initiatives, strategies and communications at a field, farm, facility, and association level.
Now is the time to pursue a sustainability strategy and develop resources for the animal food industry, especially as solutions are developed and advanced for our industry stakeholders.
Recently, John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, responded to a BBC interview question regarding Americans needing to be told to eat less meat.
To answer, Kerry indicated that reducing meat consumption was not necessarily the solution because “research is being done that actually reduces the amount of methane (from meat production).”
A sustainability road map to ensure necessary policies and information pathways are in place to move lifecycle data up and down the production chain is needed to ensure industry actions and performance are correctly accounted.
IFEEDER is currently seeking funds to launch this important and timely project in full.
If you’d like to know more or learn how you can support this effort, please contact Lara Moody, IFEEDER’s executive director.