Cargill Animal Nutrition was established in 1893. In October 2015, Cargill acquired EWOS, one of the world"s largest suppliers of feed and nutrition. This gave Cargill access to the expertise and knowledge base in salmon feed that EWOS was renowned for, and gave EWOS access to a global footprint, wider nutrition expertise, new ingredients, global supply chains, and greater market insight.

EWOS is the primary go-to-market brand for Cargill"s aquafeed for fish and shrimp; however, some feed is also distributed under the Purina and Provimi brands in certain markets.

Sustainability is a word on the lips of many major companies these days, although some are only paying lip service to the idea. Contrast that with agri-giant Cargill, which in April 2018, issued a report detailing the company"s bold and ambitious commitment to sustainability across its entire supply chain.

The report came about as the result of a sustainability summit attended by 40 representatives of Cargill and their customers, as well as representatives of other important stakeholders in the food and feed supply chain.

International Aquafeed Magazine sat down with a representative from Cargill to find out more about this forward-thinking initiative:

So which came first? Did consumer demand drive Cargill"s decision to focus on sustainability? Or did Cargill"s commitment to sustainability drive consumer demand for its products?

It"s hard to say which came first, but Cargill recognised that smart companies invest in ensuring the sustainability of their operations to remain relevant to an increasingly informed consumer base. We believe in supply chain transparency as a means to build trust amongst all stakeholders that are involved in or benefit from global food systems.

One of the good side-effects of this is that sustainability is a key driver of innovation and we see many opportunities to continue to innovate in different and interesting ways. For example to remain compliant in a world where the regulatory landscape can change fast. To look beyond the direct impact of your own operations and become more involved in the upstream and downstream supply chains. And through designing and developing products and services that appeal to consumer preference for eco-friendly offerings.

Feeds based on the "1990"s diet formulations could not be made in such high tonnages and at such prices – there simply is not enough fishmeal and oil to satisfy the needs of today. Back then, it was not unusual to find salmon feed that comprised two-thirds of marine ingredients from fishmeal and fish oil, but these days the formula contains two-thirds of plant proteins (mainly soya) & plant oils (such as rapeseed or soya oils) in addition to micronutrients. A significant proportion of these plant materials are by-products themselves, upgrading waste streams into valuable nutrients.

In some markets, animal by-products such as poultry meal might be included in the formulation. And we are increasingly seeing novel raw materials like algae, insects or single-cell proteins being considered as alternatives.

Micronutrients are routinely used to support the physiology and quality of the animals being fed. Synthetic amino acids can be used to balance the amino acid profile of the feeds to meet the needs of the fish more accurately, reducing the need to add extra protein sources or for the fish to eat more feed to obtain the amino acids they need.

Beyond the usual vitamin and mineral premixes that are included to ensure a balanced diet, certain functional ingredients might also be added to deliver a nutritional benefit and support the health and welfare of the animals.

We have introduced a portfolio of feeds like BOOST, ROBUST, ALPHA and BACTER to support fish immunity and help fish recovering from clinical symptoms of disease along with a highly palatable base pellet to support any medicinal treatments that may be required. These innovations have been well received by the market and have become important tools for fish farmers to use in combination with best husbandry practices.

Why are the ASC standards so important to Cargill?

Demand for independent certified seafood products is growing, with three major organisations active in different markets: Global GAP covers 1.6 million tonnes salmon and 94kt shrimp; ASC covers 42 salmon farms, 28 tilapia and 24 shrimp farms; GAA BAP covers 725kilotonnes salmon, 185 kilotonnes tilapia and 170 kilotonnes shrimp.

Given the extent of this movement, we believe that we as a leading aqua nutrition business must continue to support customers wishing to produce certified fish and shrimp, according to ASC or any other reputable standard. ASC feed standards are not yet published, but already Global GAP certifies mills with 7.9million tonnes and GAA BAP with 4.3 million tonnes aquafeeds globally.

Therefore, we think it"s important to ensure that CQN businesses are ready to support and supply customers with feed products that meet third party feed standards.

Sustainability is important to the aquaculture industry. What forms of commercial fish feed currently in use are not sustainable?

In many countries where aquaculture is developing, knowledge of the nutrient requirements for fish and how to supply them are not well known. Better feeds can be developed through R&D and best practice manufacturing, and then working with farmers to ensure that they are used optimally in the field.

Through its broad outreach, Cargill Aqua Nutrition supports such developments, helping to expand the sustainable production and use of aquaculture feeds.

Why is Cargill"s fish feed solution sustainable?

We start with assessing the needs of our customers for feeds – looking at what products are required and how they will be applied. This enables us to use our nutritional skills to determine what should be in the feeds, developed from R&D and years of commercial data. By designing the correct feeds for the need, we will reduce waste of feed in the field, reducing environmental impact at the farms.

To be able to meet these needs, we work with our supply chains to develop raw materials, which can supply these nutrients. We also work with them to ensure that they are produced sustainably – focussing on social and environmental criteria. Our suppliers have all agreed to work to meet our Supplier Code of Conduct, which has a key focus on labour issues in the supply chain, as well as product quality.

For key raw materials, such as marine ingredients, soy and palm oil, we apply further criteria, relating to the potential environmental impacts they can have and setting a bar and a direction for further development in the future.

Different species of fish require different formulations of feed. How does Cargill"s fish feed satisfy these needs?

The Cargill Nutrient System (CNS) brings together all of Cargill"s knowledge of the nutrient requirements for each of the species we feed and combines that with our knowledge of the raw materials that we use in our feed formulations. This powerful and comprehensive database is integrated with our formulation systems to ensure that our formulators, wherever they sit in our global network of factories and facilities, are connected to the most advanced and most up-to-date information we have.

We are developing a range of Technical Application Centres (TACs) associated with our regional operations, where we can test and further develop the feeds in conditions which are close to those that our customers will experience, but which are under our controls to ensure scientific integrity. Experiences of such TACs in Norway, Chile and Vietnam have shown their importance to be able to develop solutions applicable to our customers, to help their fish have thriving growth.

Cargill is a global company with hundreds of raw material suppliers. They have all signed Cargill"s code of conduct, but how will Cargill ensure compliance?

Control of our supply chain relies on our Responsible Raw Material Sourcing Policy, cascading through our Supplier Code of Conduct and verified by supplier audits. The audits are risk-based and for example in 2017, we carried out 32 supplier audits. Suppliers in breach of basic ethical standards can be rejected as a supplier of CQN and can be disqualified from future tenders.

Moreover, while every case is different, if CQN determines an existing supplier to be non-compliant with our standards for ethics or corporate social responsibilities, we will first seek to work with the supplier to develop an acceptable solution, but if necessary we may terminate the supplier relation.

What inspired Cargill to develop its promote range of multi-species feed additives?

Feed additives and functional feed play an increasingly important role in animal nutrition as livestock producers seek new sustainable and natural ways to enhance performance, improve gut health, optimise feed conversion, reduce and replace antibiotic growth promoters in feed, and address consumer demands.

The PROMOTE additives have their origin in the Provimi business that was acquired by Cargill in 2011 and we are now strengthening our micronutrition business with the recent acquisition of Diamond V, leaders in unique microbial fermentation products for animal nutrition and a strategic partnership with Delacon in the field of phytogenics.

As a result of Cargill"s sustainability summit, the company has announced some ambitious targets for many areas of its operations: Safety, sustainability, etc. How are you achieving those goals?

Cargill has a strong commitment to safety and we have many initiatives to improve safety through infrastructure and behaviour throughout the corporation.

Sustainability has been highlighted as a core capability to be developed in Cargill. The legacy of EWOS has helped to develop a sustainability strategy for our aquaculture feed operations, but now the corporation in general is also developing a sustainability strategy.

This has led to a central hub focussing on sustainability being setup in the Corporation which links to the different interests in the business operations. Our aquaculture sustainability manager is now part of this hub, which strengthens our position and our ability to work through our value chains to improve our sustainability activities.

What drove the raw material sourcing policy for Cargill"s EWOS brand, which produces aquafeed?

EWOS had operated a raw material sourcing policy for some years prior to the Cargill acquisition. This helped us to promote our vision to our supply chain, so that they could develop in the same direction. But it was also the requirement of certain third-party certifications for feed production.

Following the acquisition, we needed to update the policy, which was carried out at the end of 2016. With the much larger CQN operation, this policy helps us to set goals for the future, enabling us to navigate the needs of different markets and arrive at a common position in the future.

Cargill has initiated a raw material sourcing policy for all its animal feed suppliers. Were there any special considerations that needed to be kept in mind when it came to fish feed suppliers – such as regional versus global considerations?

The aqua feed policy reflects the different market requirements that we see between salmon and other aquaculture products. Salmon producers have focussed on developing sustainable farming and feed criteria for some years. This has led to an investment by a significant proportion of the industry in feeds with certain criteria, which are specified in our policy.

By contrast, other aquaculture industries have little, if any, requirements for their feed and raw materials. To impose stringent criteria on raw materials with no lead time would distort our competitiveness in the current farming systems. We have therefore set longer term goals for these sectors, to enable us to work with our supply chains to develop price competitive solutions and with our customers to be able to value the new feed

by Ian Carr, Strategic Marketing Director, Cargill Aqua Nutrition; and Dave Robb, Sustainability Manager, Cargill Aqua Nutrition

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