Tuesday, September 12, 2017

13/09/2017: Producing more with less: The increasing need for true sustainability

by GMP+

There was a time, until well into the 1980s, in which the question where fish and animal feed came from, didn’t play a big role

As long as large amounts of animals didn’t fall ill, nobody was concerned about feed safety. In 2017, this attitude is impossible. We are currently going through the same development in the field of sustainability. There are great opportunities for companies that lead in that field. 

Johan den Hartog
Image credit: GMP+
A dialogue with Johan den Hartog (GMP+ International) and Jose Villalon (Nutreco)
A company in the feed chain that is unable to demonstrate that it meets the standards for safe feed by means of a certificate, will have less and less countries that accept its products.

Certificates such as GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance (FSA) and equivalent schemes have gained such a strong position across the globe in the past decades, that they have meanwhile become a license to sell in many countries.

“Feed safety hasn’t just gone mainstream, it has become top-of-mind throughout the chain,” Den Hartog explains in his office at GMP+ International in Rijswijk (the Netherlands).

In the past ten years, a second aspect was added, sustainability. Den Hartog: ‘GMP+ International was increasingly asked by the chain how companies could demonstrate that they not only work safely, but also take their responsibility for people, animals and the environment. Companies were wondering, for instance, how to demonstrate the use of responsible soy.’ 

Jose Villalon
Image credit: Nutreco
Core strategy
Jose Villalon, Corporate Sustainability Director at Nutreco confirms this development, “In the past ten years we have seen how sustainability evolved from a perception of it coming ‘from the dark side’ to it being a core strategy.

Of course there are different maturity levels due to specific geographies or market pull, but in general the transformation has been significant. I am a believer that in the next 15 to 20 years, sustainability will be a pre-competitive concept much like food safety is today.”

According to Villalon, the current ‘headliner’ focus points for the aquaculture industry are related to five major sustainability issues: the use of antibiotics, the increased dependence on soy (and the associated deforestation), the dependence on the ecologically valuable, but vulnerable small pelagic fisheries and modern slavery in the fishmeal and fish oil sector and the efficient use of natural resources for feeds.

The aquaculture industry is up for the challenge, Villalon believes, “The farmed seafood sector has a history of embracing its challenges and addressing them in a transparent and pre-competitive way.”

In response to the increasing importance of sustainability, GMP+ International launched Feed Responsibility Assurance (FRA) in 2014, an add-on certificate to GMP+ FSA, as proof of a sustainable and responsible work method. The auditor that audits the companies for safety can also include sustainability in his audit on request. Den Hartog explained, “The role of GMP+ FRA is mainly to build a bridge between – for instance - the responsible cultivation of soy or fishing (for fishmeal production) and the use thereof in compound feed for farmed animals and fish farms by proper assurance throughout the chain of custody.”

But whereas safety is a ‘hard’ theme that can be measured relatively easily thanks to calibrated feed safety limits, sustainability is software, and subject to so many different interpretations, depending on the region, culture, branch and practice, that it is difficult to impose rules that are feasible and acceptable for everyone.

For that reason, GMP+ International decided to not define any limits and refrain from imposing our definition of sustainable on the market. “With GMP+ FRA, we offer a framework within each sector can establish its own sustainability standards by means of market initiatives,” says Den Hartog.

“These market initiatives are only included in GMP+ FRA if there is enough demand in the market.”

Read the full article, HERE.

Visit the GMP+ website, HERE.

Visit the Nutreco website, HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
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