The ROI of sustainability and role of the feed industry


ONE Dublin welcomed more than 500 delegates at Croke Park to explore sustainability solutions to the challenges facing the agri-food industry.

The event saw industry leaders share valuable insights in live presentations and focus-track sessions while uncovering the challenges and opportunities related to agriculture.

Tara McCarthy, global vice president for ESG at Alltech, highlighted the ROI of sustainability. “Our industry is navigating unprecedented disruption yet remains confident and committed to evolving towards a more sustainable food system,” said McCarthy. “The key to success will be the development of innovative solutions, but even more critical the capacity of the industry to work together across the value chain.”

Alltech recently launched a global value chain engagement study seeking industry input. While the complete Alltech Sustainability Insights report will be released later this summer, Holly Geraghty, project manager of sustainability at Alltech presented initial findings that included:

There is a world of shifting and, depending on geography, quite divergent priorities. There is a very real series of crises facing the agri-food industry and, for the most part, an acknowledgement and realistic view of the gravity of those challenges. In the face of all that, it’s heartening to see a strong level of optimism and positivity with 86 per cent of respondents agreeing that the food system can rise to the challenge.

Respondents were similarly realistic about the need for support for the primary producers of the food that the eight billion people on this planet eat with 67 per cent agreeing that unless the farmer is incentivised, things will never change.

There is a recognition that we won’t be able to resolve the challenges ahead without a huge degree of innovation and harnessing technology to enable us to feed ourselves sustainably, with 92 per cent of respondents believing that technology and innovation are key to more sustainable food systems.

There is a near-universal recognition that there is going to need to be a collaborative conversation and effort up and down the value chain with 93 per cent of respondents agreeing that we all have to work together to create a better food system for the future. 

Delegates at ONE Dublin also heard presentations from Russell Smyth, head of sustainable futures at KPMG Ireland, about “The metrics that justify the investment”; Nina Prichard, head of sustainable and ethical sourcing for McDonald’s UK and Ireland, on “Our journey to net zero: The role of supply chain”; and Constance Cullman, president and CEO of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), on “The forgotten role of the feed industry”. These speakers were then joined by Hans Jöhr, former corporate head of agriculture at Nestle and current sustainability and ESG specialist and coach, for a panel discussion exploring “How do we feed the ecosystem, not just ourselves?”

“The conversations that we are having here at ONE, the ideas that are being fostered and the science and the data being developed can help to create a story where agriculture is the hero,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech. “Together, we have the collective courage and impact to work together for a Planet of Plenty.”

The Alltech ONE World Tour will continue with stops in Calgary, Canada, on July 3–4, and in the U.S., Asia, South America and the Middle East.

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