Call to action: Project aims to shift edible fats and oils onto sustainable footing

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© istock
© istock
Volac, which among other activities, runs a global animal feed fats business with Wilmar, wants to help shape the future of edible fats and oils, such as those derived from palm, soy, and rapeseed.

Feed fats have a very high energy concentration, and are digested efficiently, said the UK-based manufacturer of dairy nutrition products. Volac claims that responsibly obtained feed fats can play a critical role in ensuring a more sustainable global livestock production chain down the line.

“Fats and oils are an essential part of a nutritionally balanced diet for humans and livestock, but the way we’re producing and consuming them is thought by many to be unsustainable. Finite resources and increasing competition are affecting the security and sustainability of supply. The debate on the ‘right’ fats and oils is also polarized,”​ said Andy Richardson, head of corporate affairs, Volac.

He said Volac is a founding member of ​a new global cross-sector collaboration effort, led by the UK headquartered Forum for the Future, that is aiming to tackle the sustainability challenges linked to edible fats and oil production and use. It is promoting impactful, long-term systemic change.  

Call to action 

“We are only at the very early stage on this. We need a joined up discussion, that includes representatives from feed and food industries, NGOs and retailers, on the future use and production of feed and food fats and oils; we want to get ahead of the curve."

Sustainability challenges, though, are not just linked to palm oil or soybean production, he said. "NGOs we have spoken to have highlighted soy fertility challenges around rapeseed oil cultivation as well,"​ he told us.

He said there are a number of businesses that have shown an interest in getting involved, but the Forum is stepping up its recruitment drive now as more industry participants are required to get the project off the ground.

“This is a call to action to get feed industry members on board; we are looking to get a cross-sectoral consensus established about what action is needed, and to establish common themes and principles," ​he continued.

The first phase of the project includes desk-based research, system mapping, along with the international stakeholder dialogues and interviews. 

Forum for the Future said the initiative would look to identify and move forward on the approaches that have potential to scale and shift the edible fats and oils sector onto a sustainable footing.  

The ultimate aim of the initiative, it continued, is that more businesses, investors and governments will take sustainability and health into account concurrently in decisions about product formulation, sourcing, innovation and investments. 

Moreover, it claimed, companies that get involved in this project would be better positioned to understand and seize commercial opportunities in the sector, securing supply and gaining insight on new raw materials.

Get in touch 

Anyone from the international feed industry looking to participate in the cross-sectoral project can contact Mark Driscoll from the Forum for the Future. His email contact details are: m.driscoll@forumforthefuture.org

Alternatively, they can also contact Andy Richardson, whose email contact details are: andy.richardson@volac.com

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