Feed Compass aims for future-fit feed


arge food companies, including retailers and those active in the foodservice are increasingly looking for ways to make the agri-food system more sustainable. And these large corporate firms are not only looking

at the way that animals are raised. They also have an in- creased interest in what the animals eat, hence how sustaina- ble the feed ingredients really are and which changes can be made here. And by looking at the animal diets, sustainability gains can be made that have a significant and long term ef- fect on parameters such as soil depletion, water use and greenhouse gases amongst others. So it is animal feed that Forum for the Future has gotten its teeth into lately. This in- ternational non-profit organisation specialises in addressing critical global challenges by catalysing change in key systems, from food to apparel, energy to shipping. They do this by con- vening transformational collaborations to drive change, by partnering with organisations to help them lead by example, and by building a global community of pioneers and change makers. Dr Lesley Mitchell is Forum for the Future’s Associate Director for Sustainable Nutrition and leads Forum’s global work on food, with an expert team covering innovative topics including the future of protein, sustainable animal feed and regenerative agriculture.

Feed: the hidden part of the puzzle In 2017, Forum for the Future started the Feed Compass pro- ject. With Feed Compass, Dr Mitchell and her team are build- ing a platform that looks through the lens of all the costs and impacts of animal feed – looking at ways to bring together major actors in the feed industry and to create a pre-compet- itive environment for businesses to take steps forward in making feed more sustainable. Animal feed is one of six criti- cal action areas chosen by The Protein Challenge 2040 group – a global cross-industry coalition which sets out to explore how we feed nine billion people enough protein in a way that is affordable, healthy and good for the environment. “We not only aim to produce sufficient and quality food, but we also want the food to come from systems that are climate resil- ient, environmentally, socially and economically viable. Great- er transparency about the sustainability of feed ingredients helps build trust with consumers. Progressive companies that

The Feed Compass project is exploring the impacts of the animal feed system – and the strategies to make it more sustainable. We talked to Dr Lesley Mitchell from Forum for the Future about how the project is bringing actors together and what the next steps are.

act on feed will be better positioned to create this trust. This can be done by improving current practice or by creating new innovative solutions,” Dr Mitchell explains. The project team therefore developed the Feed Compass principles, designed to provide an easy-to-communicate, top-line method of eval- uating feed sustainability and guiding decision making. These are: 1) Restorative land use and biodiversity practices, 2) mini- mising pollution, 3) minimising freshwater consumption, 4) minimising greenhouse gas emissions, 5) minimising fish stock depletion, 6) promoting animal health and nutrition, 7) taking a ‘circular’ approach, 8) supporting human rights and welfare and 9) being financially viable. Being active for only two years now, the Feed Compass project has already made some big steps. “When we started in 2017, animal feed was a hidden issue amongst large agri-food companies. We noticed that large corporates were active in making their business more sustainable, but that was often limited to topics such as reduction of plastics or energy use. Animal feed was not on the radar for many agri-food companies. Two years ago, we therefore started with producing the ‘feed behind our food’

Feed Compass aims to make feed more sus- tainable.

▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 27, No. 3, 2019



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