We Care Principles are Blueprint to Sustainability
The six We Care ethical principles generate a holistic approach to sustainability solutions and become the platform that expresses the pork industry’s intentions and values in the food system.
Source: National Pork Board
July 20, 2021
The definition of sustainability may be different from neighbor to neighbor, but this is shifting as the marketplace has illustrated their needs for measurable results within all facets of businesses. By following the UN Sustainable Goal Development platform, which 72% of global companies already use as a north star for sustainability goals1, pork producers are part of the solution for a more sustainable future.
Dr. Brett Kaysen, Senior Vice President of Sustainability for the National Pork Board (NPB), spoke to producers about continuous improvement for the U.S. pork industry at a Pork Checkoff-funded Pork Academy session at World Pork Expo last month. He shared how NPB leverages the We CareSM ethical principles as the basis of the industry’s sustainability platform and all the validation involved to build consumer’s trust.
We Care is the Cornerstone to Sustainability
The six We Care principles were introduced more than a decade ago. They generate a holistic approach to sustainability solutions and become the platform that expresses the industry’s intentions and values in the food system.
Producer practices, including veterinarian and nutritionist attention, maintain animal health at each stage of life. We Care is built on a solid foundation training and certification including the Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus) and Transport Quality Assurance® (TQA) programs, as well as the Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA).
Food safety is a team effort, it involves caretakers, veterinarians, transportation professionals and those who market the pigs. Standard operating procedures and documentation across all sectors ensure pigs efficiently entering the supply chain are safe.
Sustainability efforts maintain natural resources for future generations. The world’s population is projected to grow to 9-10 billion people by 2050, and that requires global food production to increase 70-80%2. A comprehensive lifecycle assessment shows overall trend lines continue in a positive direction with the following reductions per pound of pork produced throughout the past 55 years.3
↓ 75.9% less land
↓ 25.1% less water
↓ 7% less energy
↓ 7.7% fewer carbon emissions
Protecting the public does not stop at food safety. Practices promoting public health assurance include:
Maintaining veterinarian-client-patient relationships;
Responsible antibiotic use;
Lean pork; and
Ensuring a healthy planet.
Continuous training and development are vital for a safe, ethical workplace. Producers understand and adhere to strict regulation to sustain their freedom to operate and promote pig and human safety.
Pork production is an economic driver in America’s rural communities. It provides 550,000 nationwide jobs totaling more than $22 billion in personal income4 and contributing to the economic tax base. As good neighbors and responsible community citizens, farmers and their families play an active role in helping to build a strong community through volunteering or donations.
Sign Up to Help the Industry Validate the We Care Principles
On-farm sustainability reports tie related efforts producers are already doing on the farm with tangible data. Dr. Kaysen encouraged pork producers to participate in the Checkoff-funded program. Signing up to receive an on-farm sustainability report will validate calculated data from real producers who produce a real product for global consumers.
The aggregate data in the report will:
Give consumers permission to choose pork;
Take credit for the work producers have already done on their farms;
Show transparency; and
Maintain social license to operate.
Producers receive a custom, easy-to-use on-farm metric report as a pilot project participant. Additionally, they receive short and long-term continuous improvement plans specific to their farm to make feasible, future business decisions. The secure and confidential data is not a model or best estimate; it is real content producers, state leaders and associations can use in meetings with stakeholders.
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