To ensure the highest quality and sanitary measures are taken, the National Renderer’s Association has established a “Rendering Code of Practice.” The code states that renderers must process at optimum temperatures over a prescribed length of time and use strict quality control procedures, good manufacturing practices and the principles of hazard analysis critical control points to produce protein meals and fats that are safe and reliable feed ingredients for animals.
NRA member facilities participate in third party audits, employ tractability methods, have well-trained staff and practice proper storage and receiving/shipping methods.
The Animal Agriculture Environmental Sustainability Summit covered the importance of corporate sustainability from three perspectives: the government, the environmental organization and the corporation.
Christian Richter of The Policy Group Inc. outlined the progress and contributions to sustainability made by each president since George H.W. Bush.
The first Bush’s presidency was characterized by voluntary compliance with sustainability initiatives and forward thinking in providing sustainable solutions. During his administration the Environmental Protection Agency and industry worked together, rather than against one another.
The Clinton administration continued its predecessor’s collaborative approach to problem solving, but with a stronger emphasis on environmental results by granting tax breaks and other rewards to compliant companies. During this era complying with sustainability programs was still voluntary, but a growing public interest in issues such as global warming and depleting water supply increased participation a great deal.
George W. Bush’s presidency could be described as a step backward on the sustainability front. As the EPA’s role was minimized, far fewer rules and initiatives were established than under the previous two presidents’ reign.
President Obama has put the EPA” back on the job” by hiring more investigators, giving more resources to inspection and enforcement and tightening regulatory standards. His aggressive approach to compliance has resulted in the dissolve of several key industry partnerships; a hindrance to the goal said Richter, because of the research and solutions provided by these corporations.
In closing, Richter pointed out that industry, not government, has been the main sustainability solutions provider, and the government isn’t giving credit where credit is due.
Suzy Friedman of The Environmental Defense Fund took the podium to provide the environmental group’s sustainability perspective. The EDF is undergoing a shift from filing lawsuits against objectionable corporations to collaborating with corporations on their sustainability efforts.
Companies voluntarily join the EDF to gain a better understanding of how they can become more sustainable. One benefit of joining the EDF is to gain access to online tools that collect data and provide documentation of performance and progress.
For some corporations, the thought of partnering with an environmental group may seem threatening, but Friedman said the first step is to let go of the “us vs. them” mentality.
“Not all big farms are bad, and not all environmental groups want to put you out of business,” said Friedman. “Collaboration between stakeholders who have diverse views helps make effective policies”
The EDF is also dedicated to coming up with economically viable solutions. The organization focuses on how to make sustainability affordable, instead of giving up when corporations say “this is too expensive.”
C. Larry Pope, CEO of Smithfield Foods, and a passionate believer in the importance of corporate sustainability, gave the corporate perspective.
In 1996 Smithfield Foods was slapped with a $12.5 million fine, the largest ever given under the Clean Water Act, for dumping hog waste from its Smithfield, VA processing plant into the nearby Pagan River.
Since then the giant meat corporation has made significant steps toward reforming its environmental policies. In fact, Smithfield hired the Department of Justice prosecutor responsible for its lawsuit to head up its new sustainability program.
Pope stresses that it’s in a corporation’s best interest to comply with environmental regulations, not only to avoid monetary consequences, but to maintain customer satisfaction.