Broad Range of Topics Addressed by IEC in Washington

Corporate Social Responsibility and the latest in the fight against avian influenza were just two of the hot topics discussed at the recent International Egg Commission (IEC) conference in Washington.
calendar icon 11 October 2011
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More than 440 of the international egg industry's leaders and decision-makers met in Washington, DC, for the International Egg Commission's Marketing & Production Conference in September 2011. This is the biggest event in the international egg community's calendar. The main theme of this year's conference was Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Two years ago, the IEC pledged the industry's international commitment to CSR and during this latest conference members took the opportunity to assess their progress, celebrate their successes to date, and plan future initiatives.

2012: The Year for Corporate Social Responsibility

"Consider CSR. You can do good while you do well."

This was the message from Paul Guenette, an expert who helps organisations set up businesses in developing countries. Mr Guenette addressed delegates during the economic session of the conference, and explained to the IEC members that there are many investment opportunities available to them right now, within developing countries.

He told his audience that these countries are very receptive to foreign investment coming into their country: "The opportunity is right now – the time is good for the IEC's CSR initiative."

He urged the IEC members to consider seriously investing in developing countries, explaining that it is possible to set up profitable businesses while also bringing benefits to developing, underfed nations.

Mr Guenette told the IEC: "Consider CSR. You can do good while you do well. I think there is a triple bottom line involved; I think that you can make a corporate investment; I think that you will get your return; I think you have to be patient, it may take longer, but it's a good thing to do."

Egg Farmers Share Best Practice

"Creating commerce, not charity"

During the conference, IEC members also heard from Bruce Dooyema and Kim Dooyema, who run Center Fresh Egg Farm, a very successful egg production business in the US. In 2006, after visiting Mozambique and witnessing the hunger and lack of development within the country, they, along with like-minded partners, established Mozambique Fresh Eggs, an egg production facility in Mozambique. The Dooyemas are now working with local Mozambique egg farmers, bringing 21st century farming practices to this part of Africa, enabling the nation's egg farmers to produce more eggs to help to feed to the country's population.

They explained that this is all about creating commerce, not charity; giving local people the opportunity to work, and development a sustainable food supply. They stressed that although this initiative is an excellent example of CSR, it is trade, not aid that is the key.

IEC members were impressed and inspired by this project in Mozambique, and judges awarded Center Fresh Egg Farm with the prestigious IEC Crystal Egg Award in recognition of its outstanding commitment to CSR.

Opportunities for Advancement in the Egg Industry

"McDonald's sells five million breakfasts in the United States every day"

The future is full of exciting possibilities for the international egg industry. Darci Forrest, Senior Director of the Menu Innovation Team at McDonald's in the USA, told delegates: "Breakfast is big in the US and growing!"

McDonald's sells five million breakfasts in the United States every day; this is a huge egg market, and one that McDonald's expects to see increase.

Heidi Herrera is the Senior Manager of Research & Development at Safeway Consumer Brands. She also addressed IEC delegates and stressed both the excellent properties of eggs and the opportunities available for further advancement. Like McDonald’s, Safeway and its suppliers are major customers of the egg industry.

Ms Herrera told her audience: "I really believe that egg functionality is superior among ingredients used for similar purposes."

She also made a plea to the egg industry. In her role in new product development for Safeway, choosing the correct combination of ingredients based on their functionality proves to be very time-consuming. Ms Herrera asked her audience to consider creating a comprehensive database that would quickly identify which egg products have specific functional properties.

Would You Support GM Advancement if it Could Eradicate Avian Influenza?

Delegates attending the IEC conference were asked to consider their opinions of genetically modified (GM) hens, in particular, whether they would support genetically modification of hens if it meant an end to avian influenza.

Dr Tiley from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, explained that his research team is undertaking studies to determine whether it is possible to breed chickens that are immune to the H5N1 virus, and could therefore bring an end to avian influenza in the commercial poultry industry.

He told the Washington audience that his research team is carrying out a study with the aim to "breed disease resistance into birds, to make them essentially genetically resistant to avian flu".

The IEC is the only organisation dedicated to representing the egg industry internationally. The Washington DC event was a huge success, with representatives from 35 countries coming together to share best practice and pledge their combined commitment to their industry's corporate and social responsibility; working together as an international industry, helping to feed the world's growing population with its sustainable source of high-quality protein.

IEC conferences are held twice a year: in March 2012, the conference will be held in Venice, Italy, then in September 2012, the annual Marketing and Production conference will take place in London, UK. If your business is part of the egg industry, make sure that you are part of the discussions that matter, join the IEC and profit from a direct exchange of ideas with professional colleagues.

October 2011

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