Feed Bites

Why Should Industry Support the Feed Systems Sustainability Summit?

Written by: Lara Moody   |   July 5, 2022

IFEEDER, Environmental footprint

On Sept. 28-29, the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will be bringing together the full feed value chain for a Feed Systems Sustainability Summit. The goal is for us to bring a diverse group of participants from upstream and downstream entities together to hold conversations around four critical components of sustainable feed systems: circularity, innovation, regenerative agriculture and responsible sourcing.

Chr. Hansen volunteered to host the summit at their newest headquarter-based manufacturing facility in Milwaukee, Wis. I had a chance to speak with IFEEDER Board of Trustee, Steve Lerner, also Chr. Hansen’s senior scientific and business advisor, about why their company chose to collaborate with us on bringing this summit to the industry.

Q: Why did Chr. Hansen volunteer to host the Feed Systems Sustainability Summit at their facility in Milwaukee?

Lerner: From the first moment of discussion of the Feed Sustainability Summit, I knew that we, at Chr. Hansen, would have to participate in some fashion.  As soon as the conversation turned to “who should host the event?”, I knew that it must be us!  For five years in a row now, Chr. Hansen has been named by Corporate Knights – The Voice For Clean Capitalism – as the “most sustainable biotech company in the world.” In 2022, we were the second most sustainable company of any type in the world. With that background, I approached our management team with the question: “who better than us should host a summit on Feed Sustainability?”  Agreement took minutes to achieve.

Q: Why should a company take the opportunity to participate in the summit?

Lerner: The opportunity for us to learn from other thought leaders in this space and to share our ideas in an open, collaborative forum for the betterment of the feed industry is profoundly attractive and the single best reason a company could choose to participate. As an added bonus, participants will have the opportunity to tour our newest, state-of the-art manufacturing facilities, showcasing the type of work being done in our industry to reduce our environmental footprint.

Q: How long has sustainability been a core value for Chr. Hansen?

Sustainability is in our DNA. Chr. Hansen became a company in 1874 when Christian Ditlev Ammentorp Hansen, a Danish pharmacist, commercialized purified rennet to enable the clean, safe production of cheese. As we expanded our line of probiotic, plant health, and silage inoculant products, to support efficiency in the development, preservation, and utilization of the nutrients in animal feeds and forages, sustainability was always a core component of our efforts and successes.

Q: Given your areas of expertise, which of the Summit’s themes (i.e., circularity, innovation, regenerative agriculture, and responsible sourcing) resonate the most?

Lerner: The themes of the summit that resonate most with our company are innovation and circularity.  We rely on innovative advances in microbiology, molecular genetics and fermentation to enable us to do an ever-increasingly better job of selecting and producing the efficacious probiotics that get consumed in animal feeds. Furthermore, all effective probiotics are living organisms that are produced and used with little to no objectionable residue – with the exception of packaging, probiotics are the epitome of circularity.  

Q: Why should feed supply chain stakeholders be interested in these topics at the summit?

Lerner: We wholeheartedly believe that the two themes noted above, combined with regenerative agriculture and responsible sourcing, should resonate at least in some way with every business involved in the feed value chain and that the opportunity to be involved in the discussion of priorities, advancements and communication strategies simply shouldn’t be missed.

So, whether you’re a producer of feeds and feedstuffs, like us, or a trader/processor who acts as a facilitator and effectively links producers with consumers, or are a final feed consumer, represented by livestock and the farmers owning livestock, the outcome of this summit should be important to you, and we strongly encourage your participation.

Q: What do you envision a successful outcome of the Summit to be?

Lerner: We hope this Summit will sow the seeds of sustainable feed production deeply into the fertile ground that is today’s global marketplace.

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