WRO's Technical Blueprint Part 2: Applications

By Stephen Woodgate
First Vice President, World Renderers Organization

Editor’s note – This is the second part of an article published in the October 2011 issue of Render and is based on a paper given at the Australian Renderers Association 11th International Symposium in Sydney in July 2011.

Application of the operational aspects covered in part 1 of this article forms a key component of this blueprint. Day-to-day technical operations cannot be considered in isolation and must be integrated by World Renderers Organization (WRO) members around the world into a comprehensive plan or blueprint.

This is fundamentally an important area for WRO. It is clear that one of the early objectives of the organization was to try to shape policy with those global bodies that the industry is in contact with for one reason or another. Much has already been achieved by working with the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and Codex Alimentarius. Contacts have also been established with the World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization, and World Health Organization, and a memorandum of understanding between OIE and WRO is pending. WRO is also working closely with global trade associations and alliances such as the International Feed Industry Federation and Global Aquaculture Alliance.

Moving forward, it is expected that WRO will present itself with an even more professional appearance following the publication of a WRO code of practice.

The Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF) is at the forefront of global research activities and acts as the de facto WRO research organization. In addition, the WRO Scientific Advisory Panel and its ad-hoc research committee are able to consider and provide input into research around the world. This area probably requires an improved coordination by WRO to maximize the value of research in all aspects of animal by-products. However, as the organization sets out its plans for the future, this gives WRO opportunity to exchange ideas and become involved in worldwide research.

This is a subject of great importance to all WRO members and one that is firmly linked to research. The climate change/greenhouse gas reduction agenda has involved the global community in a series of initiatives following the groundbreaking Kyoto agreement in 1997. The impact on the rendering industry has been significant, and many WRO members have been trying to come to terms with the national initiatives that have been emanating from governments all around the world. Typical schemes have involved carbon or energy taxes that are levied on fossil fuels with rebates of the levy gained if targets are met. Normally these targets are oriented toward energy efficiencies, and in simple terms the schemes involve a benchmarking exercise to monitor electricity and fossil fuel usage in a reference year and then reduction targets are set for a number of years.

Rendering has long been recognized for providing valuable feedstocks for the production of biofuels, particularly biodiesel. In that respect, the rendering industry contributes a renewable feedstock for that sector of energy production that is recycled from animal by-products and not grown just for fuel, thus eliminating the argument over feed versus fuel that often occurs with corn and soybean/rapeseed use.

Rendering has always been a method of carbon sequestration. Utilization of the rendering process to recycle animal by-products into usable building blocks for thousands of other end products such as oleochemical and feed applications, to name a few, eliminates the emission of carbon dioxide and methane gas from the natural decomposition of the by-products of meat production if they were disposed of by landfills or digesters.

Members of the Foodchain and Biomass Renewables Association (Fabra) and European Fat Processors and Renderers Association (EFPRA) have supported a PhD thesis on the subject of developing a carbon footprint toolkit for the rendering industry. The preliminary work of this study and work completed by the National Renderers Association (NRA) and FPRF at the Animal Co-Products Research and Education Center on developing a carbon footprint calculator are giving a very valuable insight into how the rendering industry can benefit from this important aspect of its operations.

One of the major hurdles to making a greater impact with the findings of all the research has been the recognition that many of the assumptions and calculations on really important aspects such as allocation are different for almost each study. This problem needs to be solved if the full value of the industry in assisting the fight against climate change is to be achieved.

Education is a fundamental aspect of many WRO member activities. The Australian Renderers Association (ARA) leads the way in terms of workshops designed to educate and train operatives in vitally important aspects of operations. In particular, the ARA workshop on hygienic rendering of animal products has been very effective in promoting the responsible nature of the industry to both regulators and customers alike.

Likewise in the United States, the Animal Protein Producers Industry (APPI) is active in training NRA members by using a range of different approaches, including classroom sessions. In addition, APPI has its own code of practice and certification schemes for rendering facilities that enhance standards in this important area.

In the United Kingdom, Fabra is active in promoting education and training via Beacon Synergy working with the Meat Training Council. This initiative uses online training modules to illustrate specific topics and then to test the operative to ensure that the learning has been effective. This approach allows different standards of training to be completed and by combining different modules, accredited qualifications can be gained.

The WRO recognizes the need to communicate with the world and was fortunate to contribute to a great reference book for the rendering industry, Essential Rendering, edited by David Meeker in 2006. In the last year or so the WRO has developed a great relationship with Render and now contributes regular international columns in the magazine. This publication has a global circulation and WRO is able to utilize this route of communication as well as maintaining its Web site at www.worldrenderers.org. However, there is recognition that more needs to be done and specific topics may need specific messages.

In Europe, the debate about re-authorizing processed animal proteins (PAPs) in animal feeds has begun. EFPRA has utilized specialist communications approaches including the launch of a dedicated Web site at www.papinfo.eu to provide facts about PAPs. Such activities have been considered to be essential by the industry in locations where the debate is “hot” (such as Europe, in this case).

Communication by way of conferences and exhibitions has also provided good opportunities to go “on message” to target audiences. Two good examples of WRO involvement are the Global Food and Feed events (previously held in Brazil and Mexico) and Global Aquaculture Alliance annual meetings (last held in Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia).

WRO has been considering the subject of communication in the last 12 months and it was agreed in October 2010 that a “key messages” document should be drawn up for discussion by all WRO members.

Conclusions and Action Plan
The WRO Technical Blueprint is the result of many inputs into the WRO in the last 12 months or so. It has progressed significantly since the concept was firmly established in 2010, but much more is required to finalize the blueprint and this edition should be considered as work in progress.

The operational (technical) aspects have been described in such a way to encourage readers to think about what more should be considered. Particularly important are the areas where there is the possibility of harmonization or agreement between countries or regions. It is important for WRO to work hard on these topics and make progress toward common approaches and agreements.

On the aspects of application, even though in a perfect world the operational issues would all be resolved first, there is much that can be done now. The technical aspects of the blueprint offer a platform for many components of the WRO program, and on the basis of the work completed so far, the following key issues can be addressed and acted upon.

GlobalizationWRO will maintain contacts already in place and working, and will endeavor to make new alliances to further the objectives of the organization. Gaining a memorandum of understanding with the OIE is of particular importance to WRO, as is the upcoming work of the Codex Task Force on Animal Feeding. The harmonization of customs tariff codes remains an aspiration and the publication of a WRO code of practice will also assist the organization to make greater strides on the world stage.

ResearchWRO will maintain its good working relationship with FPRF and encourage members to conduct research in the important areas of nutrition and non-nutrition and share the non-commercial results for all to use.

Sustainability – Rendering in and of itself is the epitome of sustainability, and this message is probably one of the most important for the future. However, more needs to be done to ensure that a common approach is developed. The link to research is very strong and good cooperation is required to ensure that the publications and communications on this topic are clear, unambiguous, and positive for the industry.

Education – There are several initiatives currently being promoted for the industry and these should be coordinated and enhanced under the WRO umbrella if possible. Education and training are vital for WRO to progress with its blueprint objectives within the rendering industry. This is particularly relevant for new members of WRO where there may be a greater need for education and training. In this regard, a WRO quality manual might be an appropriate aspiration.

Communication – This is the key element that, in principle, ties all of the above together. All of the topics discussed in this paper require internal or external communication to deliver them to target audiences. It is likely that professional help may be required to coordinate and perform some aspects of this task to ensure that the WRO messages are clear, concise, and relevant. The key messages developed so far by WRO indicate the thinking and progress made to date, and WRO hopes to take these forward in the coming years.

I would like to acknowledge the excellent and close cooperation with current WRO President David Kaluzny II, and past WRO presidents Alan von Tunzelman, Niels Leth Nielsen, and Andy Bennett. Acknowledgement also goes to members of the WRO Scientific Advisory Panel: David Meeker, Bill Spooncer, Sergio Nates, and especially Kent Swisher and Bruce Ross from whose draft ideas this blueprint paper has evolved.

Any questions or reference requests can be sent to the author at swoodgate@fabra.co.uk.

December 2011 RENDER | back