WRO's Five-year Plan: Getting the Message Out

By David Kaluzny II, First Vice President, World Renderers Organization

The World Renderers Organization (WRO) Annual Meeting will be held in Naples, FL, in conjunction with the National Renderers Association Annual Convention October 26-29, 2010. Already over half of the countries making up the WRO are registered to attend the meetings. They will have a formidable agenda to discuss as the organization formalizes its plans for promoting rendered products as well as rendering itself.

Eight areas have been identified as key to WRO activities over the next half decade. They range from developing vital messages from the organization directed toward global governing bodies, regulators, current and potential new users of rendered products, and the general public, to cataloging “best practices” of the industry from around the world.

In looking at just the key area of messaging, it is instantly clear that the average person does not have even a clue about any of the nuances of the rendering industry. Renderers all know almost intuitively that there is no single industry that is as green and sustainable as rendering. Today, the industry does not have to rely on intuition or job experience, but can now prove scientifically just how sustainable it really is.

Research done by renderers and their research arms in North America, Europe, and Australia have documented the carbon footprint of the rendering industry. It can be proven that not only does rendering have a relatively small carbon footprint, but it also does a phenomenal job of sequestering carbon at the same time.

The challenge for the WRO is to take this research data and turn it into messages to appropriate audiences around the world. Decisions will need to be made on what worldwide forums are the best for each message and which ones offer the “best bang for the buck.” The WRO, like any other organization, has limited resources that it must utilize judiciously.

That is made all the more difficult when considering the size of the potential audience and multiplying that by the number of messages needed to be given. Rendering is an industry that is in a uniquely pivotal position. Renderers produce lower cost feed ingredients to a world that has never had a greater demand for food. Our ingredients are not interchangeable as a human food and therefore do not compete for that use.

At the same time renderers produce fats and oils for that same market and for the direct fuel and biodiesel markets. Here, too, our ingredients do not compete as a human food product in going for energy use. The industry is truly providing a renewable energy source.

The list of messages goes on and on, and so too, the size of the audience gets larger and larger. Hence, the challenge of targeting messages effectively increases almost logarithmically.

Obviously as the industry provides animal feed ingredients in a world short on animal protein, this becomes a primary area of responsibility for our message. Communication needs to be directed to governments and regulatory bodies in countries that do not allow or severely restrict the feeding of rendered products. They need to be shown the safety and sustainability that rendered products offer, and told that rendered products are heat-treated, safe, and not human food competitive.

Renderers and their products are key ingredients in the recipe, “Feeding the World Population Today and Tomorrow.” Getting that word out will require the creation of a list of important individuals and institutions that influence public policy and perception. This is another of the eight key areas WRO is working to develop. That list would include regulatory authorities around the globe, politicians, industry groups in food and aquaculture, farmers, wholesalers and retailers, scientists, and educational institutions. Once identified, these entities can be matched to a customized message about the industry and its story.

Cataloging industry best practices is another of the areas WRO is working on. The Australians have had best practices standards in place for decades, while the U.S. renderers have a code of practice. Making all of these available to every renderer around the world is one of WRO’s goals. Of course every country has their nuances and requirements to meet local laws and customs, but having all of the practices in one reference makes self regulation of rendering much smoother. In addition, having the scientific basis for the practices available makes them all the more likely to be accepted by individual nations’ regulators.

Greenhouse gas calculations, along with carbon footprint data, are also being gathered by the WRO. Such tools as the carbon footprint calculator developed at the Animal Co-Products Research and Education Center at Clemson University is just one example of tools WRO intends to make available. This is another of the group’s areas of concentrated effort.

All of this and more will then have to be made available to renderers around the world as well as to the industry’s key audiences. One method of information dissemination will be the upgrading and improving of the WRO Web site (www.worldrenderers.org) to contain all of this information. Here we intend to amass all of this information as well as a catalogue of pictures.

Another means of spreading the word is through targeting specific audiences at key speaking venues. Already the WRO has participated in a number of such events. In the future, we will be targeting more venues of this sort. Meetings of the Global Aquaculture Alliance and the Feed and Food Congress are good examples. Articles placed in food and feed industry magazines and publications will be used to further tell the industry’s story.

This provides a condensed version of what the WRO is planning to accomplish in the upcoming five years. As you can see, the organization has its work cut out for it to finalize all of the plans for the next half decade. Please join us for all of the fun. When you have as good a story as we have as renderers from around the world, it can’t help but be exciting!

For future planning, next year, an unofficial WRO meeting will be held at the European Fat Processors and Renderers Association Congress in Dublin, Ireland, June 8-11, 2011, while the official annual meeting will take place at the Australian Renderers Association Congress in Sydney, Australia, July 27-30, 2011.

International Report – October 2010 RENDER | back