AIC signs up to GFLI to advance sustainability in UK feed industry

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Bangon Pitipong
© GettyImages/Bangon Pitipong

Related tags carbon GHG emissions SBTi

In a bid to drive sustainability initiatives within the UK’s feed manufacturing sector, the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) has announced its membership of the Global Feed LCA Institute (GFLI).

The move is aimed at bolstering efforts to enhance environmental practices and transparency across the sector.

James McCulloch, head of animal feed, AIC, said the organization’s membership in the GFLI facilitates valuable insights into industry-led initiatives, enabling discussions on food LCA data strategy in the UK, particularly crucial in engagements with key stakeholders like the Food Data Transparency Partnership​ (FDTP).

As part of its commitment, AIC is supporting GFLI's targets for 2024, which include various initiatives aimed at standardizing data and expanding the scope of environmental considerations. These goals include higher-tier modeling to standardize GFLI data, aligning with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to enable companies with SBTs to leverage the GFLI database for emissions calculations​, and the inclusion of new and specialty ingredients, such as roughages and organic products.

Furthermore, the initiative aims to commence data submissions for branded feed ingredients, marking a significant step forward in enhancing the comprehensiveness and applicability of the GFLI database.

Carbon values 

The GFLI's aggregated dataset comprises over 1,000 feed ingredient products, to provide a robust foundation for assessing environmental impacts. But the AIC has produced a UK subset within the GFLI database, one that is tailored to the specific needs of UK-based feed manufacturers, and focusing on carbon values for selected feed materials.

The AIC, according to a spokesperson, has the capacity to encompass all impact categories. However, the predominant interest among its members currently lies in emissions data calculation, he told FeedNavigator.

Should there be a future inclination from UK feed companies to broaden the subset to include other impact categories, the AIC remains open to incorporating such additions, he continued.

“The AIC's primary objective is to develop a straightforward and user-friendly subset, facilitating member businesses' familiarity with feed LCAs.”

The GFLI is an independent animal nutrition and food industry institute with the purpose of developing a publicly available animal nutrition LCA database​ to support meaningful environmental assessment of animal nutrition products and stimulate continuous improvement of the environmental performance in the animal nutrition and food industry.

Nitrogen and phosphorus leaching

The GFLI acknowledges that carbon footprints and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions remain focal points in the feed sector, but, in a recent post​, it highlighted how its database encompasses multiple environmental impact categories with the aim of addressing competing priorities and facilitating the use of data for ReCiPe and European Union Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) compliant LCAs.

Philippe Becquet, an IFIF technical expert engaged in various stakeholder platforms concerning LCAs (including FAO-LEAP and GFLI), underscored the significance of understanding potential trade-offs such as nitrogen and phosphorus leaching, particularly in cultivated feed ingredients.

While the PEF approach accommodates diverse ingredient uses, LEAP prioritizes farming systems and advocates for assessing eutrophication and acidification potential in livestock production LCAs. Emphasizing a holistic perspective encompassing all impact categories is essential in developing environmental footprints for livestock production systems, he noted.

French BSF-based insect ingredient producer, Innovafeed, also recently became a member of the GFLI.

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