Sustainability at Top of IEC Conference Agenda

SPAIN - Attendees at IEC Madrid 2013 learnt that the ability to balance the needs of people, animals and the planet provides excellent opportunities for the egg industry.
calendar icon 22 April 2013
clock icon 4 minute read

IEC Chairman, Joanne Ivy, welcomed over 320 of the egg industry’s leaders and decision makers from around the world to the IEC Madrid conference at the beginning of April.

During her opening address, she stressed the importance of CSR, telling delegates: “The International Egg Commission defines corporate social responsibility as balancing the needs of people, animals and the planet.”

The IEC, on behalf of the global egg industry, takes its corporate social responsibility very seriously.

Ms Ivy told delegates: “We are passionate about our corporate social responsibility: we are passionate about producing safely the highest quality protein; feeding the growing population and ensuring food affordability; providing choice; caring for the environment; and ensuring the health and wellbeing of our hens.”

A time of great opportunities in the egg industry

The need for better communication with consumers, and to educate them about the safety of their food, was also stressed by Dr Alejandro Thiermann, from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Dr Thiermann spoke about Poultry Animal Health Challenges in a Globalised World. He stressed the importance of working with credible and competent veterinary services, and urged everyone in the egg industry to consider animal health in a more holistic way.

Dr Thiermann told the IEC that he would also like to see the food industry take a more pro-active approach when communicating with consumers, instead of being forced to react to what he described as, expensive communication campaigns instigated by animal rights NGOs.

Dr Thiermann encouraged the industry to increase consumer confidence in food safety and animal welfare by collaborating with veterinary services on a joint, pro-active communications strategy.

He told the IEC that it is never too soon to begin communicating with consumers about the safety of their food; rather than waiting until a crisis strikes, the industry needs to be better prepared, and help to shape public perception in advance.

Preparation is key

Dr Tjeerd Kimman, from the Central Veterinary Institute at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, shared his expertise on Avian Influenza, a decade after the outbreak in The Netherlands.

He told IEC delegates that his most important message for them was preparation, saying: “Not only preparation of risk, but also preparation of diagnosis and disease control”.

He said early detection and early awareness are critical: be prepared for new outbreaks and be prepared for the unexpected.

Over 320 delegates, from 30 different countries, gathered at the IEC Madrid conference in Spain. Spain is home to one of the largest egg industries within Europe, and provided a perfect setting for the international industry leaders to discuss the latest issues and trends affecting their industry globally.

During the conference, delegates in Madrid heard from Esperanza Orellana, Deputy Director General of Production and Agricultural Markets for Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, and Maria del Mar Fernandez Poza, from Spain’s INPROVO.

Maria del Mar Fernandez Poza shared the lessons the EU producers have learned as a result of the recent implementation of legislation for keeping laying hens. Ms Poza told the IEC that the move to enriched cages has provided an excellent balance, and become a huge asset and in their favour.

She explained that the industry has gained great credibility; it is now seen as an industry prepared to encompass public opinion, one that is committed to consumer needs and good animal welfare, and offers quality products at a good price.

This September the IEC will hold its five day Annual Marketing and Production Conference in Cape Town, South Africa; then in 2014, the International Egg Commission will celebrate its 50th anniversary in Argentina’s beautiful city of Buenos Aires.

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