24 Aug 2023
by Oli Hill, James McCulloch

AIC at 20: Developing guidelines for sustainable soya in livestock feed


As AIC marks 20 years as the UK agri-supply industry’s leading trade association, we're looking back at some of its greatest achievements since it was founded in 2003.

Each week throughout 2023, we’ll explore a major achievement where AIC represented its Member businesses, promoted the benefits of modern commercial agriculture in the UK, and supported collaboration throughout the food chain.

This week learn about AIC's work on promoting sustainable soya in collaboration with European partners over the past decade, leading the world in this important area.

The work of AIC encompasses three guiding pillars - Productivity, Environment and Competitiveness - delivering for sustainability and contributing to the circular economy. Find out more here.

Establishing guidelines

Soya is a key component of many animal feed diets, but in recent years there have been concerns about the sustainability of the soya supply chain. Today many customers and stakeholders require information about the sustainability of soya used in products.

Several sustainable soya supply schemes exist, but until recently it has not been possible to benchmark those schemes against sustainability criteria.

In 2015, AIC worked with the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) to develop guidelines that set minimum criteria for sustainability with the aim of encouraging a mass-market solution for the supply of sustainable soya to Europe.

The established criteria are hosted on the International Trade Centre (ITC) web portal, and ITC benchmark each scheme against them to determine if they meet the accepted standards.

By visiting the ITC website, AIC Members and the wider industry can identify which schemes have met the European feed industry’s sustainability criteria.

The guidelines sought to provide challenging but realistic criteria while driving continuous improvement, and have been subsequently updated in 2021 and 2023.

Developing criteria

Today there is a comprehensive list of 73 criteria in total - 55 essential and a further 18 desirable. These cover a wide sustainability spectrum including aspects of good agricultural practices, responsible working conditions, and other environmental protection measures. Find out more about this on the FEFAC website.

All of the essential criteria must be met, as well as at least eight of 19 desirable criteria, in order for the soya to be benchmarked as truly sustainable.

This initiative ultimately aids feed businesses' purchasing decisions, supporting the development of mass-market demand for sustainable soya throughout Europe.

Find out more about soya in livestock feed by clicking below.

Watch the video below for an overview of the UK feed sector.

Make sure you're following AIC on Twitter and LinkedIn for regular updates.

Visit the AIC at 20 webpage for more content like this.

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Oli Hill

Oli Hill

Communications Manager, AIC

As Communications Manager, Oli creates and oversees the content published on AIC's website, emails, Member briefings, print publications, and social media.

A qualified multimedia journalist, he previously spent six years working at Farmers Weekly magazine as a Senior Reporter on the arable team, and latterly as Community Editor. More recently he was Communications Manager at Red Tractor.

[email protected]
01733 385230

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James McCulloch

James McCulloch

Head of Animal Feed, AIC

[email protected]
01733 385253

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