Why the poultry industry needs to set sustainability goals

Today’s consumers expect the poultry and meat production industry to be invested in sustainable supply chains, environmental protections and social responsibility programs, Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, Global McDonald’s Business Unit Leader and Chief Sustainability Officer, OSI Group and Charlie Arnot, CEO, Center for Food Integrity, explained March 4 during “Defend and Deflect No More: Building Trust in Animal Program,” at the 2020 Annual Meat Conference, held in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Rfischia | Dreamstime.com
Rfischia | Dreamstime.com

Today’s consumers expect the poultry and meat production industry to be invested in sustainable supply chains, environmental protections and social responsibility programs, Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, Global McDonald’s Business Unit Leader and Chief Sustainability Officer, OSI Group and Charlie Arnot, CEO, Center for Food Integrity, explained March 4 during “Defend and Deflect No More: Building Trust in Animal Program,” at the 2020 Annual Meat Conference, held in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We need to understand that we are no longer just competing for consumers’ wallets, but also for the heart behind it,” Arnot said. “We've got to shift our focus to really helping consumers understand that animal protein is a socially responsible part of a healthy diet.”

Building consumer trust

Modern consumers spend money on causes they support. Three out of four consumers recently indicated that they would refuse to purchase a product from a company that supports an issue contrary to their own beliefs.

It’s up to poultry producers and other companies in the meat industry to show customers its commitment to do what’s right for people, animals and the environment.

“Trust is the single most important intangible asset in any organization. If you have trust, that grants you the social license to do what you want to do. And once you lose trust, it becomes incredibly difficult to regain in today's environment,” Arnot explained.

Benefits of a sustainability program

“When you think about your sustainability work, it’s a really great moment because it allows you to make choices,” Johnson-Hoffman said. “At that moment, you can take your values and you take your scope, and you decide here's what I'm going to do.”

It’s important to be public about your company’s sustainability goals, even if you aren’t 100% certain you can achieve them.

“In order to address the concerns of our stakeholders and in order to protect demand for our products and communicate the improvements that we are making in our business and the problems that we are solving, we have to be public about our goals,” Johnson-Hoffman added.

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