US Partnerships on Sustainability and Animal Welfare

Published on Dec. 13, 2021

US Partnerships on Sustainability and Animal Welfare

As a major player in the US egg industry we are committed to continuously improve the sustainability of the egg industry and the welfare of our animals. As we cannot do this solely we are actively collaborating with others involved in the egg and poultry supply chain to ensure that it remains successful and sustainable in the future.

Industry and consumer groups across the value chain have discussed the need for a program to meet this goal. Two groups, in which we are actively participating, the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs (US-RSPE) and the International Poultry Welfare Alliance (IPWA), held conversations to discuss ways to collaborate few years ago. Each group’s mission aspires to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in sustainability and animal welfare through leadership, innovation, multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration. The groups will also seek to evaluate current and emerging concerns related to animal welfare and sustainability and advance tangible outcomes through research, education and outreach initiatives. Acknowledging the synergies that can be gained by combining their efforts, the US-RSPE and IPWA have decided to unify endeavors on areas of common interest - sustainability and animal welfare – within the US poultry and egg industry. To enable this, the groups started to offer joint memberships so that stakeholders within the poultry and egg value-chain can benefit from both sustainability and animal welfare discussions. We are excited that we are part of this collaborative process, that addresses and advances the issues related to animal welfare and sustainability. Below we will explain the 2 different frameworks.

US-RSPE Sustainability Framework

The US-RSPE Sustainability Framework is the first-ever, multi-stakeholder sustainability reporting framework for the full U.S. supply chains for chicken, turkey and eggs from producer to final customer. This assessment will help equip the entire value chain better measure and communicate with stakeholders about the overall sustainability of U.S. poultry. Accurate and intentional measurement and tracking of continuous improvement helps create a clearer picture of how these products are produced to support informed customers.

There are several sustainability assessment resources available, but the poultry sector needed a reporting structure that tackled the complexities of the their organizations and full supply chains. Experts representing viewpoints as diverse as US-RSPE membership provided direction to refine the Framework via these comments that is being carefully considered and used to finalize the metrics and indicators included as well as develop supporting documents to make reporting into the US-RSPE Sustainability Framework as easy as possible and yield the best data.

The US-RSPE Sustainability Framework will be launched in early 2022.

Multi-Stakeholder development

We set up US-RSPE to be different, and you can see that in our structure. Those raising the birds worked side-by-side with their supply chain and environmental groups who have specific expertise in sustainability programs and everyone in between. This dynamic allows the Framework to be meaningful to the people implementing it and relevant to those who want to know more. The Framework is a tool to enhance transparency into how our poultry are being raised and how it relates to our planet and its people.

US-RSPE and the Framework development process welcomed and included input from:

  • Retailers/grocery stores
  • Food service companies
  • Breeders
  • Hatcheries
  • Feed manufacturers
  • Farm operators
  • Processors and further processors
  • Renderers
  • Integrators
  • Non-government organizations (environmental, social, veterinary, etc.)
  • Allied industries (animal health providers, equipment manufacturers, etc.)

Three Pillars of Sustainability

US-RSPE's three pillars help define the scope and goals of the organization and the efforts to continuously improve poultry and egg supply chain sustainability. We believe sustainability success starts with measurement and is improved by investing in work that improves sustainability for our poultry, our planet and its people.

  • Our Poultry: our work includes four priority areas: animal health, animal well-being, biosecurity, productivity and efficiency.
  • Our Planet: our work includes four priority areas: energy and greenhouse gas conservation, air quality, land use and water use and quality.
  • Its People: our work includes five priority areas: community support, food safety and quality, food security, consumer well-being and employee and supply chain well-being.

The International Poultry Welfare Alliance

Is a multi-stakeholder initiative that supports sustainable poultry production that is ethically, socially, scientifically and economically responsible. The alliance believes in a better future, that will be built by coming together over the values we share. Poultry welfare has come a long way. Many improvements in welfare were brought on by advances in our understanding of poultry with management and scientific discoveries. Others were introduced by consumer preferences and changing tastes and values. Now, even as we produce more food than ever for the growing world, our poultry have better care than ever. And, we know we can do better. We care about poultry. We care about you. We value telling you the truth and earning trust. These values are simple, but the work is not. Experts tasked with improving their poultry welfare programs recognized a need for an unbiased resource focused on tackling the complexities of poultry welfare at the global level. They needed an independent authority in order to include all the diverse stakeholder perspectives fairly, more rapidly analyze and bring forward trusted resources, and provide the transparency needed for true accountability and progress. That's where we come in.  The International Poultry Welfare Alliance serves as the independent global authority on poultry welfare. IPWA is a diverse and driven group of organizations, companies, and individuals committed to continuously advancing poultry welfare around the world. Our work includes fostering open communication, sharing best practices, and supporting credible research and innovation that advances poultry welfare.

the Five Pillars of IPWA

  • Poultry health and Well-Being: Improving the humane handling, care and treatment of poultry throughout their life.
  • Food Safety and Security: Optimizing food safety and food security through changes and innovation without compromising poultry welfare.
  • Communication and Education: Providing a platform for open and transparent communication among all stakeholders.
  • Efficiency and Sustainability: Facilitating a collaborative, proactive atmosphere that provides a platform for innovation in animal welfare practices that improve poultry sector sustainability and production efficiency.
  • Research and Innovation: Supporting and promoting scientific research and innovation to advance the understanding and improvement of poultry welfare.

Member Benefits

Bring visibility to your organization as a leader in sustainability in the U.S. and beyond. Provide leadership and input in your area of the value chain to inform industry-wide programs and outreach. Influence the dialogue and treatment of sustainability in poultry and eggs proactively instead of reactively by engaging directly with your stakeholders. Access member education, training and other resources to help you develop a road map for your sustainability program.

Become a member yourself
dekalb white cs aviary chickens layers

Related articles

, by
Selecting for improved animal welfare contributes to more sustainable production of eggs

In Europe and North America there has been a strong consumer demand to take welfare into account in animal production. Table egg consumption patterns have seen a major shift from cage to non-cage pro…

, by
Welcoming Devo-ei to the Dekalb 500 Egg Club

It is with great pleasure to welcome Devo-ei as one of our latest members to the Dekalb 500 egg club. Their organic flock, that was born back in the spring of 2021 and consisting of almost 18.000 Dek…

, by
Latest CSR report highlights examples of progress in sustainability

We are very pleased to publish our second Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. This report gives a detailed overview of our efforts in sustainability and the ways in which we are making a po…