Egg farmers must find new ways to mitigate their impact on the environment, as the sustainability of all types of animal protein production is ever-more examined by investors, retailers and consumers.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) criteria are increasingly important for some investors in determining companies’ financial return and risks and publicly listed egg companies, or those seeking funds, cannot escape this scrutiny.

Consumers, as a likely consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, are putting health and sustainability at the forefront of their guiding principles. A recent survey conducted in 28 counties, for example, showed that 57% of consumers would be willing to change her purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impacts.

Retailers, with consumers ever-more interested in the sustainability of their food choices, are increasingly pressuring brands to supply accurate and relevant information on their carbon footprints.

With 70-80% of carbon emissions coming from the production stage in the egg value chain, egg farmers must find ways to reduce their impact. In late April, the International Egg Commission hosted a webinar looking at growing ESG pressures that egg producers are facing and the options available to them.

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How to respond

While Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) studies have been used in the past to measure the carbon footprint of the egg value chain, these studies only provide an overview at national level, averaging the effects of numerous decisions taken by many farmers.

Greater granularity is needed, allowing egg producers to measure and analyze the carbon footprint of eggs produced on their own farms, under their own management.

New tools are now commercially available that assist in making the best decisions to minimize environmental impact. A new feed formulation, a new housing system or investment in a solar energy system can all be simulated for their effects CO2 emissions per kilogram of eggs produced. If linked to current farm data management systems results can be obtained immediately and various scenarios can be tested.

Using these new tools, egg companies will soon be able to take full credit for their investment in providing a yet more sustainable supply of eggs.