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LEAP launches guidelines on environmental performance of feed additives

LEAP launches guidelines on environmental performance of feed additives

Guidelines will support efforts to reduce impact of livestock products on environment.

The International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) has announced the official release of the Livestock Environmental Assessment & Performance Partnership (LEAP) guidelines on the environmental performance of feed additives in livestock supply chains, which were launched Sept. 21 at the LEAP outreach event, “Innovation to Tackle Climate Change & Pollution: Generating Facts about Feed Additives & Livestock Production.”

IFIF is a founding partner of the LEAP guidelines, which aims to improve how the environmental impacts of the livestock industry are measured and assessed. IFIF said it was closely involved in the development of the feed additives guidance document through its expert members' participation in the LEAP Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Feed Additives. It added that the guidelines will further support efforts to reduce the impact of livestock products on the environment.

More than 500 participants from around the world joined the LEAP event, which was opened by the agriculture ministers from Uruguay and Ireland, together with the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) deputy director general and the LEAP chair for 2020. Professor Ermias Kebreab and Chaouki Benchaar, leaders of the LEAP Feed Additives TAG, presented the final guidelines.

IFIF chair Daniel Bercovici also presented at the event, underlining how “the strong cooperation between IFIF and FAO/LEAP is evident in this partnership, and the IFIF FEFANA Specialty Feed Ingredients Sustainability (SFIS) Project formed the basis of the LEAP Feed Additives TAG, while the Global Feed LCA Institute, of which IFIF is a founding member, is putting the LEAP feed guidelines into practice to support the improvement of the environmental performance of livestock production around the world.”

Bercovici added that “the integration of the science-based standard methodologies under the LEAP guidelines is key to engrave in stone these key scientific advances.”

The guidelines allow for the comparison of scenarios with and without specific feed additives and combinations thereof, supporting the evaluation of their effect in the given situation. The guidelines were developed to be relevant to a wide range of livestock stakeholders, including:

  • Livestock producers, advisors, civil associations and extension agents who wish to develop inventories of on-farm resources and assess the performance of production systems with or without specific feed additives or combinations of additives;
  • Supply chain partners (e.g., feed additive manufacturers, feed producers and farmers) seeking a better understanding of the environmental performance of products in their production processes;
  • Policy-makers interested in developing accounting and reporting specifications for livestock supply chains or in designing agricultural policies, including approval of feed additive uses for specific purposes, and
  • Researchers and scientists interested in understanding the potential environmental impact of new feed additives or relevant technologies under development.

“The livestock sector is a major user of natural resources such as land, water and nutrients and contributes to both greenhouse gases and nutrient loss, the latter often resulting in water and air pollution. Increasing resource efficiency in livestock productions is key in order to alleviate competition for resources with other sectors, drastically curb emissions and prevent water pollution,” the forward of the guidelines states. “As feed additives carry both environmental burdens from their production and environmental benefits from their usage, environmental assessments have often failed to address this complexity. These guidelines strive for a more coherent inclusion of feed additives in environmental assessments of livestock production in order to increase the understanding of the environmental footprint of feed additives and to reveal possible synergies or trade-offs with other environmental criteria.”

As stated, the specific objectives of the guidelines are:

  • To develop a harmonized, science-based approach resting on a consensus among the sector’s stakeholders;
  • To recommend a scientific but simultaneously practical approach that builds on existing or developing methodologies;
  • To promote approaches for assessing the impact of feed additives at the local to global scale by various users and relevant to diverse livestock supply chains, and
  • To leave room for the adaptation of the methodology to specific applications while providing a common framework to ensure a minimum level of harmonization as well as robustness and transparency.

The guidelines are not intended to remain static. They will be updated and improved as the sector evolves, as more stakeholders become involved in LEAP and as new methodological frameworks and data become available.

The LEAP Feed Additives Guidelines can be downloaded at http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca9744en.

IFIF is made up of national and regional feed associations, feed-related organizations and corporate members from around the globe that represent more than 80% of feed production worldwide.

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