"Customers and consumers require sustainability accountability from their suppliers. This is an opportunity to proactively share a more compelling story of eggs as sustainable nutrition," explained Gregory.
Gregory shared that UEP was probably a little behind with regards to sustainability efforts a year ago. "I feel like we have made a really good turn around. UEP is a founding member of the U.S. Round Table for Sustainable Poultry and Egg (US- RSPE), we have become very active on their framework committee," he said.
The group has both short- and long-term goals associated with this priority. Among some of those but not limited to is:
- Establishing a UEP Sustainability Committee and working closely with the American Egg Board.
- Using suitability to change the narrative on animal welfare (UEP Certified), food safety, environment, animal health and biosecurity and other issues.
- Develop joint research proposals to advance egg sustainability and nutrition story.
- Adopt the US - RSPE framework and share it with UEP members.
- Continue to address, align and share all aspects and scope of sustainability.
"This is something that is not going away and that our customers are going to continue to require. The debate that we have been having with customers, non-governmental organizations and politicians about cage versus cage-free has not been working. People have not been listening and in fact, are probably tired of that story. So, can we shift the narrative to something they want to hear about and that is sustainability," said Gregory.
The four strategic priorities were proposed by a diverse group of egg industry leaders during a roundtable meeting in March and ultimately approved by the UEP Board. Among the other priorities are market transparency, industry collaboration and communication and government affairs.