Introduction of the responsible feeding programme

11 April 2021
4 minutes

As the world population continues to grow – to an estimated 9.8 billion people in 2050 – so does the need for access to affordable, safe and healthy food. The World Resources Institute estimates that we will see a 56 percent increase in the global demand for food, and an increase of nearly 70 percent in the demand for animal-based food. This is a major challenge that requires a critical look at the food production chains we are part of.

To feed a population of 9.8 billion people in a sustainable manner, we need to improve the sustainability of farming practices in those countries where the agricultural sector is highly developed. To drive innovation and reduce the negative impact on the climate, environment and local communities. At the same time, we need to intensify food production chains in countries where the agricultural sector is less developed. We can only protect vulnerable ecosystems and reduce deforestation if we increase yields on the land we currently use for agriculture. As a global producer of animal feed products, we can help tackle these challenges by providing farmers with the products and knowledge they need to produce more food sustainably. Tackling these challenges will be hard. Access to safe, healthy and affordable food is a daily struggle for millions of people worldwide. Agriculture currently uses nearly half of the world’s vegetated land, while agriculture and related land-use change generate one quarter of the annual greenhouse gas emissions. Which is why we need our food production chains to become more effective and sustainable.

The responsible feeding programme

To safeguard our contribution to the availability and accessibility of safe and healthy food, we have developed our own long-term sustainability programme. The Responsible Feeding Programme helps us seek and prioritise opportunities for shared value in the supply chain and focus on activities that have an impact on local communities. That is why we give our business units the tools they need to assess which issues are most relevant to their market and develop the strategies and activities that meet the expectations of local stakeholders to create shared value in their supply chains.

Our global sustainability programme

Sustainable development goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals introduced in 2015 are widely recognised as a blueprint for a better world for people all over the world. At De Heus, we are proud to contribute to achieving several of the Sustainable Development goals. Starting new operations in countries where the agricultural sector is still developing creates opportunities for local farmers, who gain access to high quality feed or can sell raw materials locally. Strengthening local economies, working as a flywheel for the development and further professionalisation of their businesses and their local communities. The opening of the first multipurpose animal feed production plant by a European company in Ghana in autumn 2020 is an example of this contribution.

Global challenges

How do we increase the global production of food in a sustainable manner? According to the World Resources Institute, there a three very large gaps that we need to bridge to produce enough safe and healthy food by 2050.

The food gap: the difference between the amount of food produced in 2010 and the amount needed to meet demand in 2050. Estimated to be 7,400 trillion calories. Which is 56 percent more crop calories than produced in 2010.

The land gap: the difference between the global agricultural land area in 2010 and the area required in 2050, assuming crop and pasture yields continue to grow at past rates. Estimated to be 593 million hectares. An area nearly twice the size of India.

The greenhouse gas emissions gap: the difference between the annual emissions likely to come from agriculture and land-use change in 2050. Estimated to be 15 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Global challenges

Towards a sustainable future

Feed for food

We collaborate with customers and partners to keep animals healthy whilst optimising the production of safe and healthy animal proteins. Through knowledge sharing, we continually improve the conversion of animal feed into animal protein and professionalise farmers’ business. We contribute to the accessibility of safe and nutritionally rich food that is produced sustainably. The Feed for Food pillar covers activities on the following topics: food safety, feed conversion, animal health, reduction of antibiotics, use of residual flows.

Sustainable supply chain

We work together with customers and partners in the value chain on a sustainable supply chain from raw materials to food. We collaborate with key partners in the animal protein supply chain to make our supply chain more sustainable by developing new agricultural practices and business concepts, making efficient use of natural resources and reducing GHG emissions. The Sustainable Supply Chain pillar covers activities on the following topics: origin of raw materials, climate, i.e., energy usage and greenhouse gases, water and waste, ecosystems and biodiversity, and animal welfare.

Fostering communities

We have a positive impact on the development of local communities and economies and stimulate local entrepreneurship. Through our core activities, we add economic and social value to local communities. We strengthen their economic position and support the personal development of farmer-entrepreneurs and their families. The Fostering Communities pillar covers activities on the following topics: local communities, i.e., living standards, education, social services, infrastructure, entrepreneurship.

Thriving employees

We provide a safe and inspiring working environment for our employees, actively stimulate lifelong learning and empower our employees to positively contribute to society. The Thriving Employees pillar covers activities on the following topics: working conditions, working environment, inclusion, i.e., diversity, professional development, leadership

FEED. Magazine

In this magazine, we share a selection of stories about progress and sustainability from De Heus business units all over the world. We hope that these stories will inspire you