To go far, go together

Our partners have helped us innovate time and time again. Now, our sights are set on EU Deforestation-free Regulations (EUDR). If we want to stay relevant, we have to constantly improve and innovate. Our journey has been marked by collaboration, experimentation, and a commitment to share knowledge. It’s been a defining feature of GMP+ International and our community as a whole, but not something we do alone.

Picture of Roland van der Post

Collaboration is key

We go far because we find innovation partners who bring unique insights, expertise, and capabilities to our work, and vice versa. With a new set of challenges and opportunities on the horizon, we are looking for innovation partners to help make the animal feed sector safer and more sustainable.

We firmly believe that collaboration is the cornerstone of innovation - and something we encourage our community to do as well. We bring our knowledge of the feed scheme and our sector to the table, but we also seek partners with diverse expertise.

For example, during Covid we worked with partners to set up remote auditing, and others are helping us think about how to support innovation in the auditing process, such as with the use of google glasses or AI. Elsewhere, the GMP+ Academy and Feed Legislation website are both the products of partnership working that are valued in our industry.

As we look ahead, I see more opportunities to work with innovation partners.

Deforestation-free animal feed

Under the EU Deforestation-free Regulations (EUDR) companies will be obligated to conduct due diligence to ensure only deforestation-free products are allowed into the EU market. For our community this is especially relevant for soy, and companies must show that it was produced legally, and not on any land deforested or degraded after 31 December 2020.

This is a traceability and chain-of-command challenge - one that we already have some experience with from our unique feed-chain approach. We have our standard for the Production and Trade of RTRS soy which supports companies with the production, trade, and use of responsible soy, and early next year we plan to launch a standard for the production and trade of responsible feed - both of which also include deforestation provisions. Nonetheless, as GMP+ continues to respond to demand from the sector to take a lead on sustainability, we know this will be business-critical for many of our certified companies.

And so, we are looking for innovation partners to look at how we can support our companies with their EUDR compliance. There are lots of unanswered questions about what that could involve, how it could be developed, and whether it will meet the community’s needs. We are eager to explore.

Information is powerful

A range of different tools and ways of working are worth exploring - from artificial intelligence and blockchain, to platforms for sharing information and new ways of working. For example, satellite imagery could support our community to monitor a range of indicators from their production areas, including tree cover and the impacts of climate change. Many production areas will become wetter and warmer, increasing the risk of mycotoxins like Aflatoxin. We currently create risk profiles for entire areas, or sometimes whole countries, depending on how at risk production is in that area. But with technological innovation, we can make more accurate and defined assessments of how at risk an area is. We have teamed up with Wageningen University on a mycotoxin data analysis project, that will make detection more reliable, and create a better prediction model. This could help chain actors to monitor and store materials more safely, and help companies adjust their risk assessments for products coming from those areas.

We know how to reach our community, and the kind of information and support they would value. By teaming up we have huge potential for collective impact.

The trick, of course, is in finding the right partners to strengthen our scheme, aligning these new possibilities with our mission and enabling the scheme to give even greater assurance. Someone with the right tools, information, and - importantly for us - scalability. True partnerships involve shared risk and shared reward, and for us they are a means of making our community safer, and more sustainable.

The potential for innovation from collaboration in our industry is enormous. If you are an organization who can support our community of 19,000+ companies to not just be compliant with the EUDR, but perhaps even go beyond compliance and be truly world-leading - then please get in touch.