ASC’s Feed Standard is another step closer to completion following a successful final in-person meeting of the Standard’s Steering Committee this month.
The Steering Committee reached an in principle agreement on the overall structure and content of the standard and a final draft will be finalised by ASC’s Standards and Science Team. The Committee is made up of a multi-stakeholder group consisting of representatives from the feed mill industry, feed ingredient industry, farm industry, NGOs and retail.
“The sustainability discussion of feed ingredients has traditionally focused on marine ingredients, and although there are absolutely environmental and social concerns there that need to be addressed, aquafeed is composed of far more than just marine ingredients,” said Michiel Fransen, Head of Standards and Science for ASC. “The range of environmental and social concerns related to crop-derived ingredients (soy, wheat, corn, rice, canola, etc.) are equal if not more significant in terms of their diversity and scale when compared to marine ingredients. The complexity of crop supply chains further exacerbates addressing their sustainability issues. However, the aquaculture industry increasingly recognises that feed sustainability must be addressed both on land as well as at sea and ASC’s feed standard uniquely does that.”
The agreements of the final in-person meeting ensure that the Standard addresses a number of initial priorities related to crop-derived ingredients: transparency on origin and requirements to source from production areas that are at low-risk of illegal deforestation. It also requires feed mills to work towards deforestation-free supply chains over time.
Beyond the rules for crop-derived ingredients, the ASC Feed Standard addresses marine ingredients through a global improvement model that requires feed mills to source marine ingredients from fisheries demonstrating increasing levels of sustainability and eventually MSC certification.
Once operational, feed mills will be able to apply for certification against the Feed Standard, and ASC certified farms will need to source feed from mills which are certified against the Feed Standard.
Pilot assessments against the Standard are underway and these will inform the completion of guidance documents. The standard will be released once final approval from ASC governance is concluded towards the end of 2019.