The farms, which are advancing through the first certification stage, belong to AASA, Agrícola Chorombo, Agrosuper, Coexca, and Maxagro. In the second half of 2022, this public-private initiative will open to other SMEs. “Today, what’s important is how we produce and distribute food. This view is how we set ourselves apart over the next 30 years,” said ChileCarne’s President, Juan Carlos Domínguez.
Given their commitment to achieving the highest standards in the industry, ChileCarne’s member companies joined the Chile Conscious Origin program in its very beginnings and today, 129 pig farms have already joined in to promote a sustainable and environmentally friendly industry in each of its production processes, with clear and verifiable quality standards.
The groundbreaking program promotes sustainability in the agri-food industry through four pillars: Definition of sustainability standards by production sector; assessment of sustainability performance; a public-private partnership; and dissemination of results. It is led by the Office of Agricultural Research and Policy (ODEPA), part of the Ministry of Agriculture, to position Chile —both locally and internationally— as a supplier of safe, healthy, and sustainable foods.
“The pilot stage of this standard was basically a diagnosis of our facilities that allowed us to learn more about this tool and also discuss the aspects it covers with the different areas of our company and thus set actions to bridge existing gaps. Without a doubt, it is a tool that helps us affirm our commitment to sustainability,” says Elizabeth Ellmen, Maxagro’s Sustainability Manager.
“It’s been an interesting experience, as we have been able to get a snapshot of the industry by going from the particular views of each company to the general picture, and from there agree on the sustainability challenges we must face. This has resulted in a complete exercise that will help us respond to the new expectations in both behavior and standards from consumers and other stakeholders right now and in the future,” says Martín Landea, Agrosuper’s Environmental Deputy Manager.
Daniela Barrales, Agrosuper’s Head of Quality Management, adds that “the sustainability standard is positive, as it will give more visibility to environmental care, animal welfare, quality, and social and ethical issues associated with our industry. With this distinction and this standard we will be able to tell consumers and the various markets about the work that is being done to reduce the impact on the environment.”
It should be noted that last January, Asprocer, ODEPA and the Sustainability and Climate Change Agency (ASCC) signed a Clean Production Agreement (APL in Spanish) in the pork sector to consolidate the sustainable management of the industry and give producers a useful commercial tool, with verifiable actions that allow them to obtain the Chile Conscious Origin certification.
“As we see it, agriculture is turning its focus from what we do to how we do it, and this is what Chile Conscious Origin is about. The food sector believes that today, in addition to the challenge of feeding 9 billion people in the coming years, how we produce and distribute these foods is also critical. This view is how we set ourselves apart over the next 30 years,” said ChileCarne’s President, Juan Carlos Domínguez, after the signing of the APL.
The companies participating in Chile Conscious Origin have a positive opinion of each of the stages the program has completed. “It is a very good initiative for our sector that is in line with the work we have been doing at Maxagro. This standard covers various topics, such as animal welfare, water usage, biodiversity, carbon footprint, all key issues both for our companies and the communities where we operate,” added Elizabeth Ellmen.
The program provides the guidelines to develop a tool to measure performance that translates into comprehensive benefits for stakeholders: producers are able to conduct compliance self-assessments, identify their weaknesses at the production level, and manage risk according to their own priorities. Trade associations can collect aggregate information and focus their efforts effectively on critical aspects of sustainability, allowing the development of support programs for their member companies. The government is provided with an overview of integrated sector management indicators and information regarding the contribution of companies to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Meanwhile, consumers are able to verify how food is produced and make responsible choices.
“I recommend all pig producers in Chile to join this program and work on the sustainability standards to become companies that work well, produce with quality, and are sustainable,” concluded Carlos Montoya, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Manager of Coexca.