The importance of keeping sustainability in focus for 2050

Cobb's commitment to the industry.
calendar icon 9 March 2023
clock icon 4 minute read

Within sustainability discussions, “doing more with less” is a common mantra that is used as companies focus on precise environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs to document and track their progress. As a poultry genetics company, Cobb’s commitment to sustainability also focuses on environmental responsibility, benefiting societal and community needs and increasing the efficiency of poultry production. In each of these areas, we ensure current and future progress with the two elements: product quality and dedication to people. 

With quality, we are proactively focused on the selecting characteristics for breeders and broilers to help the global poultry industry increase meat production while reducing environmental impacts of agriculture. Since there is an estimated timeline of 3 to 5 years for genetic traits to pass from the pedigree to broiler level, every decision that we make today for enhancing the sustainability of pedigree chickens will positively impact billions of broiler chickens in the future. Since feed is both the greatest cost and environmental impact for animal protein production, feed is a key enabler in improving future sustainability outcomes. As such, feed efficiency will continue to be a primary driver in economic and sustainability targets for the poultry industry. Specifically, by focusing on where and how feed ingredients are produced, processed, transported and by using the most efficient broiler strains available, the global poultry sector can make significant steps toward their ESG goals while minimizing environmental impacts. Historically, Cobb genetics has proven to provide a positive benefit to the supply chain by improving feed efficiency, increasing the efficiency and quality of broiler meat produced, and reducing environmental impacts (i.e., water, manure, etc.). We’re excited about continued progress in feed and resource efficiency for Cobb broiler genetics and know that this will be a desirable answer for sustainability for the wider the supply chain.

As we look ahead to the future, Cobb’s approach will incorporate innovative thinking and technology, demonstrate support and alignment with supply chain values, and catalyze actions for strategic sustainability plans. For example, as a genetics company, we are conducting research to understand and assess the activity and behavior of individual chickens as they relate to feed and water consumption. We also evaluate pedigree families to catalog skeletal and cardiovascular health, robustness, resistance to health challenges, and performance data. The global poultry industry expects year over year improvement in genetics to optimize flock livability, health and welfare traits, efficiency parameters, and increased productivity. Currently, over half of our pedigree selection traits are related to bird health and welfare, and the remainder are highly correlated with breeder and broiler characteristics. In the future, Cobb genetics will continue to prioritize these items and we’re excited about the quality and diversity of products that we will provide to our global customers as they seek to enhance their sustainability and productivity goals.

This brings us to the second point which focuses on Cobb’s commitment to people. We recognize that people are one of the most important investments that we can make in our future and are also a key resource for the global poultry industry. Internally and externally, Cobb is a leader in helping poultry professionals achieve success. From hosting technical schools to producing guidelines for poultry production to providing on-site consultations, we aim to exceed customer expectations by providing knowledge, insights and advice that enable each person to be the best. By helping farmers, employees and customers understand which animal care and management practices are best for the bird, what production models are most sustainable, and how innovative solutions will help companies be most efficient, we believe that our people-centered focus will help the poultry industry be successful. Considering the challenges with climate change and extreme weather, rising energy and feed costs, limited availability of critical supplies and natural resources, how and where we will grow chickens is a dynamic situation. While the last few years of the pandemic have been difficult, the poultry industry has been amazingly resilient, innovative, and proactive, caring for chickens and providing quality protein to the supply chain. With the continued advances in science, technology, and poultry efficiency, this is an exciting time to be part of the sustainability solutions that can tackle zero hunger and climate action.

Sustainability and animal welfare are key factors that must be incorporated into the daily focus and future strategic plans of the supply chain. The poultry industry is at the forefront of efforts to increase productivity, reduce environmental impact, and enhance welfare outcomes. We should be proud to be part of this global solution for feeding the world and improving the daily care and welfare of our poultry flocks. Cobb has been dedicated to improving poultry genetics for more than 100 years and making a difference in the lives of billions of poultry and people. We look forward to a bright future that includes welfare and sustainability as key elements of Cobb’s success and the successful outlook of the global supply chain.

Dr. Kate Barger-Weathers

Director of World Animal Welfare at Cobb-Vantress
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