TUCKER, GA. – The details of an actionable and practical application for monitoring and confirming the sustainability of the food supply chain were announced by the US Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs (US-RPE) on April 19. The framework for the assessment is the first of its kind and includes stakeholders, from farm to fork, throughout the US supply chains for chicken, turkey and eggs.  

Planning for the program began in 2019 and involved the participation of processors, producers and foodservice companies, including: Butterball, Cargill, Sanderson Farms, Peco Foods, Tyson Foods Inc., West Liberty Foods, McDonald’s Corp., Cal-Maine Foods, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, Iowa Turkey Federation, Kreher’s Family Farms and Darling Ingredients. A framework using metrics developed by US-RPE was tested by the companies with the goal of facilitating better communications about the sustainability of US poultry and transparency about the process of how products are produced. An industrywide launch of the program is planned for early next year. 

“We’ve built the one thing everyone needs but nobody has yet,” said Ryan Bennett, executive director of US-RSPE. “With the US-RSPE Framework metrics, organizations will be able to provide transparent reporting on their sustainability and build plans to improve.”

Poultry and egg producers worked alongside their supply-chain partners and environmental groups specializing in sustainability to ensure the framework was relevant to them while providing information to anyone seeking details about how food is produced, Bennett added.

“We believe sustainability success starts with measurement and is improved by investing in work that improves sustainability for our poultry, our planet and its people,” Bennett said. “Now is the time to connect with us and stay tuned for opportunities to take an active role in shaping what our future will look like.”

US-RPE will provide individual reports to stakeholders in the program as well as report on the entire supply chain’s performance focused on 13 areas determined to be critical to establishing trust with US consumers. 

“We know our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from, which in turn guides our company’s broader commitments on food quality and sourcing,” said Ernie Meier, director of quality for McDonald’s Corp. “Our work with the US-RSPE not only aligns with our current supply chain standards, but also furthers our work to advance environmentally and socially conscious practices for the animals in our supply chain while allowing us to meet customer expectations.”

“It’s really exciting to be able to do this work and see all parts of the supply chain, even those that your company doesn’t take part in and may be several steps up or downstream from where you are, come together to create a clear picture of our sustainability,” said Kristin Tupa, sustainability manager at Cargill and chair of the project’s development committee.

“I know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to measure your sustainability, and the Framework lifts some of that burden,” said Lankford Ruffin, director of environmental affairs and sustainability for Butterball and chair of US-RSPE. “By making it a streamlined process, it will fit right in with your other certifications or provide you with the base you need to start building out your program. We want to help you measure where you are with your sustainability program and get you where you want to go.”