USA- A conference organized by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) 2024, held from January 1 to February 1, shed light on the pivotal role of sustainability within the feed industry and its broader implications for the food supply chain. 

Speakers at the event provided valuable insights into how the feed sector can offer solutions to its customers while aligning with sustainability goals.

Lara Moody, Executive Director at the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), emphasized the significant opportunities feed presents as downstream stakeholders pursue long-term sustainability objectives. 

The animal feed industry is continually innovating to add value to our animal production partners, and those innovations can also be solutions for our downstream customers and consumer-facing companies in reaching their sustainability goals,” Moody noted.

In the United States, feed companies are at various stages of their sustainability journeys, creating a diverse landscape, according to Moody. Anticipated future pressure on feed manufacturers to measure and report sustainability metrics will stem from customers, investment capital, and regulatory bodies.

The growing importance of Scope 3 emissions reporting, reflecting activities outside a company’s direct control, highlights the operational implications of sustainability throughout the supply chain. 

Feed plays a substantial role in the environmental footprint of the US animal agriculture sector, contributing significantly to Scope 3 emissions of companies in the food supply chain.

Despite challenges, Moody emphasized that innovations in feed and rations, ranging from probiotics to technologies enhancing soybean protein, can greatly assist downstream stakeholders like McDonald’s or Unilever in achieving their sustainability targets.

Matt Sutton-Vermeulen, Partner at The Context Network, evaluated initiatives for reporting emission reduction targets, highlighting the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as a structured framework guiding organizations towards commitments aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. 

However, he noted challenges in its application to agricultural systems, emphasizing the need for continuous improvement.

The conference also discussed the emerging carbon insetting marketplace’s potential for credible carbon accounting within supply chains. 

A recent milestone was highlighted regarding the sale of verified carbon credits in the livestock carbon insetting marketplace to the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), showcasing the potential for feed and animal agriculture to address climate challenges.

The AFIA conference at IPPE 2024 provided valuable insights into the pivotal role of sustainability within the feed industry and its broader implications for the food supply chain, emphasizing the sector’s potential to offer sustainable solutions while meeting evolving customer demands and regulatory requirements.

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