ADVANCING SUSTAINABILITY TOGETHER
How the food and feed industries can work together to advance sustainability was the theme of the second ProTerra Foundation Conference held recently in the Netherlands.
Expertly chaired by BBC journalist, Juliet Morris, the conference attracted almost 150 delegates from around the world all involved in food and feed. From academics and retailers through to product manufacturers, soy suppliers and NGOs, delegates heard from distinguished speakers and were also able to put questions in a series of lively Q and A sessions.
The morning session focussed the roles that both retailers and consumers must take in order to advance acceptance of sustainability. Dr Johannes Simons, from the University of Bonn looked at consumer perception of sustainability issues while Nina Flechtker, Consultant in Sustainable Procurement, REWE Group discussed the German retailer’s efforts to advance the soy supply chain as part of their commitment to sustainable and GMO-free animal feed.
Well-known soy brand Alpro rounded off the session with an overview of the role of brand owners in assuring a sustainable, secure food system and how Alpro will be the first brand to have the ProTerra certification mark on-pack in the UK.
The power of certification in the Dutch retail sector was outlined by Philip den Ouden, Director General, Federation of the Netherlands Food and Grocery Manufacturers (FNLI).
Matthias Kroen, President of the Danube Soy Association and Agustin Mascotena, Executive Director of Round Table for Responsible Soy - the two main certifications bodies along with ProTerra, then gave fascinating insights in their individual certification programmes.
Following an opportunity to network and visit some of the exhibition stands over lunch, the conference’s afternoon session focussed on the strategies that private and public industry is taking in advancing sustainability issues in the commodity supply chain.
Ricardo de Sousa, Executive Director, ABRANGE, the Brazilian Association of Non-GMO Grain Producers shared details of the dynamic programmes that ABRANGE is carrying out to ensure that soy producers have the high quality seeds and the technical knowledge needed to progressively advance the sustainability of the soy supply chain.
Working in partnership with other organisations is key to advancing sustainability as several speakers highlighted: Claudia Staub, Project Manager Sustainability, Coop Switzerland presented on the Co-op’s successful co-operation with Bio Suisse, the Swiss organic farmers' association to provide customers with organically produced, animal friendly and high quality food at affordable prices.
Juliana Lopes, Director of Sustainability, AMaggi Group gave an amusing presentation on the realities of sustainable production especially in Brazil. Karst Vellinga, MD within soy suppliers Cefetra Group discussed the challenges and progress toward achieving sustainability in the soy supply chain, particularly from the perspective of sustainable supply chains that meet the needs of producers and European end users.
A thought provoking day of presentations was rounded off by a panel discussion with John Fagan of the ProTerra Foundation challenging industry, retailers and suppliers to think about the opportunities available for advancing sustainability