UK Poultry Producers Engage in Responsible Feed Sourcing

UK - At the British Pig & Poultry Fair this month, ABN, event partners, highlighted to producers the on-going work within the industry to source raw materials responsibly, while also giving an insight into what the future of this market might look like.
calendar icon 28 May 2014
clock icon 4 minute read

‘Responsible sourcing’ is a new emerging topic in commodity procurement, explained Hugh Burton, Senior Raw Material Manager at ABN who spoke in the forum entitled, Feed Security – responsible sourcing for business growth.

He questioned the audience as to how important responsible sourcing is to a livestock producer today. The general consensus from the producers present was that at this time it isn’t very important.

“There is contrast and disjoin on this key topic, as retailers definitely place considerable importance on this, and they are part of the downstream supply chain for pig and poultry producers, hence their views have impact. ABN certainly feels that the sourcing issue is increasingly relevant, and wish to make producers much more aware of this important topic,” said Mr Burton.

“Sustainability is part of, but not the entirety of responsibly sourcing raw materials.”

There are numerous schemes, he explained. “The Round Table for Responsible Palm Oil scheme covers plantations and the ongoing supply chain. There are now over 1,200 members signed up, and approximately 17 per cent of palm oil is now certified under this scheme.

Mr Burton added: “In terms of soya, there are more schemes set up. The Round Table for Responsible Soya is high profile, with very high benchmarking standards. There are several other industry led schemes too, all spanning common themes that cover preserving the environment, human and social protection, good agricultural practice, and legal aspects.”

ABN is heavily involved in working with the industry on achieving mass market solutions, noted Hugh. “Angela Booth, ABN’s Technical Development and Assurance Director works closely with AIC (Agricultural Industries Confederation) on their sustainability committee, as well as FEFAC (The European Feed Manufacturers Federation).”

However, he noted that there is not one simple answer and it is going to take a few years to achieve. We are mindful that things need to progress at a rate that doesn’t impose big costs, but does benefit customers and the globe at the same time.”

Next to speak was Erin Burns, Procurement Manager at ABN, and while acknowledging the wealth of work looking at the responsible sourcing of soya and palm oil, she challenged whether it was possible to reduce their usage.

“There are plenty of alternative protein materials out there,” she said.

ABN has dedicated technical teams looking at alternative protein sources, with a key focus on home grown protein sources.

Ms Burns continued: “As a key component in the supply chain, we want to identify alternative and innovative protein supply options, and really think outside the box. Work is ongoing to establish what already exists that we are not fully utilising, and what else we can exploit.

“ABN has looked extensively at insect protein; up to 200 times the protein yield of soya beans per hectare can be produced from this potential source. However, at this time there is still red tape to overcome before it becomes a reality for the industry.”

She concluded: “There are many protein alternatives; however, producing them to meet the required scale is often the limiting factor at this stage. There is on-going work at an industry level, but supply chain engagement is necessary.”

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