The FEFAC Animal Feed Industry Vision 2030 meant a shift from a defensive to a proactive approach and I’m pleased to see it is delivering results during my term. We have continued to place the feed industry at the heart of the solutions that can address societal concerns linked to livestock production. Two examples are the role of animal nutrition in farm animal health management and the feed industry’s contribution to making the European Protein Plan a success, which were the main topics at our recent Public General Assembly in Lyon, France.
As always, feed safety remains FEFAC’s first priority and we have continued to engage with DG SANTE and the public and private control authorities to ensure that we all work together to improve processes and build capacity in this area. There should be no doubt that feed safety is a common objective for the public and the private sector and cooperation is nothing less than logical and sensible. FEFAC is committed to being a responsible partner for public authorities when it comes to facilitating the interaction.
On the topic of sustainability, FEFAC delivered on the Vision with the publication of the PEFCR Feed for Food-Producing Animals in May 2018 as well as the GFLI Database in June 2018. This has been a monumental effort by those involved. It is easy to completely drown in the technical specifications when you are not an LCA expert, but do not underestimate how strong a signal the European Compound Feed Industry has sent out with the delivery of those environmental footprinting tools. It means that we want to firstly objectively calculate the environmental impact of our activities and then transparently demonstrate objectively and verifiably how we can improve. We are showing mature awareness of our share of the environmental footprint of animal products and we are ready to take up the demand for feed formulation considering emission reduction targets.
“We are showing mature awareness of our share of the environmental footprint of animal products and we are ready to take up the demand for feed formulation considering emission reduction targets.”
The FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines are another item we would typically classify as a sustainability initiative, but to me it has become a lot more. We are increasingly required to show commitment to sustainable farming practices in the countries from where we source our feed materials and we have witnessed this year that policy makers can lose faith in entire commodities following sustained negative media reporting. We cannot hide from the fact that soy is earmarked as a “forest risk commodity” and the Soy Sourcing Guidelines are our best guarantee to ensure the legal compliance of soy products imported to the EU and pre-empt restricted market access as a result of environmental concerns.
In this sense, the borders between sustainability and adhering to legal requirements are fading. It is time to stop seeing the work on sustainability as an add-on module going beyond EU legal requirements, given that legislation on all environmental elements of feed production could be introduced if the political desire is there. With 17 responsible soy schemes successfully passing the ITC benchmarking process as of July 2018, FEFAC has actively engaged with both upstream and downstream partners in the soy value chain in its ambition to reach a mainstream market supply of responsible soy, including soy farmer organisations in the United States, Brazil and Argentina. During the remainder of my Presidency, I will make it a priority to encourage food production and retail industries to engage with FEFAC as the stepping stone in the road towards achieving zero deforestation targets.
Nick Major, FEFAC President