Poultry International - September 2017 - 14
14 ❙ PoultryInternational
SUSTAINABLE POULTRY PRODUCTION DRIVING INDUSTRY ADVANCES
mance, require investment, possibly beyond small producers.
Such systems not only regulate inputs but also alert producers to problems.
From increased biosecurity to robots that "live"
among flocks, technology will increasingly be applied,
optimizing performance, minimizing waste and losses and
improving a farm's environmental credentials.
Producers may have to cease seeing themselves simply
as producers of food, and increasingly as producers of food
and energy, as waste becomes a growing issue and the technology to process it improves and becomes cheaper. Several
producers are already well advanced on this path and are
net energy exporters.
Yet large-scale "industrial" farming can be rejected by
consumers who often see sustainability as rooted in traditional farming methods, for example free-range egg production, with less technological input, and this may be a barrier
that producers will have to overcome if they are to be truly
Addressing consumer attitudes
Consumer views on farming are not the only attitudes
that poultry and egg producers may have to address as sustainability pressures grow: attitudes to food itself may need
to change, requiring new consumer relationships.
Animal protein production tends to consume more resources than producing plant protein, and calls to reduce
meat consumption in developed countries or to impose a
meat tax to protect the planet have emerged.
While many would argue against such calls, the rationale becomes less unacceptable when taken in the context
of food waste.
A study based on FAO data by climate change group
Champions 12.3 found that in North America and Oceania,
consumer food waste stands at 61 percent, while Europe
scores 52 percent. A separate study in the U.K. found that
chicken is the most wasted meat.
The poultry industry may be seen as the most sustain-
able of all land-based animal production, but if its output is
wasted, there is no sustainability.
As part of any sustainability program, producers may
have to engage consumers in new ways, perhaps encouraging consumption of all poultry meat - be it white or dark
- reducing the need to ship product around the world and
satisfying demand with local production.
Detailed sustainability reports are likely to become more
common, but it may also be necessary to encourage consumers to live up to the standards they demand of the industry.
From farm to fork
A superficial approach to sustainability may become
unacceptable, particularly as requirements for transparency
build and governments intervene, and there are examples
where the poultry industry is already leading the way.
For example, JBS has been recognized by the Carbon
Disclosure Project, a global disclosure system enabling
measurement and management of environmental impacts,
as a top five company in Latin America for water management and security in the Program Supply Chain. The
company's Sustainable Water Management Program in
Brazilian facilities has been selected by the Getulio Vargas
Foundation Sustainability Study Center as one of Brazil's
10 most innovative corporate water management initiatives.
But sustainability is a journey, not a destination. 2
Sisters, for example, which is already carbon neutral and a
net energy producer, published ongoing targets for its facilities and supply chains, scrutinizing farm to fork.
Andrew Edlin, 2 Sisters sustainability director, says:
"Having a plan in place is only the start. To be really effective, we know that our people, customers and partners have
to understand what we are trying to do and why, and be
engaged in working with us to meet these goals.
"To ensure we are working towards the right visions
and targets, the entire Feeding the Future program will be
reviewed at least every two years by a cross-sectional group
of people from business and third parties as appropriate." ■
This is the ninth article in WATT Global Media's 100-year anniversary series, which considers the future of poultry
processing. The next article in the series will explore industry structure.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ September 2017