Sustainability is one of Aviagen’s key objectives across all businesses and throughout all regions. Aviagen shares its Latin American sustainability story as just one example of this commitment.
The dynamic and ever-growing region of Latin America is extremely important for us at Aviagen and for the industry as a whole. Brazil ranks third in the list of the world’s top chicken meat producers and first in poultry exports worldwide, and the outlook for future growth is positive across the entire region.
To ensure the economic and social sustainability of Latin America, poultry production must keep pace with this growth in a way that lessens the impact of production on our planet. For the past decade, Aviagen has invested in strengthening its presence, service and security of supply to Latin American poultry growers. We also continue to breed efficiencies that lead to greater success for customers while strengthening the sustainability of the environment, the economy and society in Latin America and worldwide. Our teams work every day to put the company’s global commitment to sustainability into practice.
Ever since Aviagen established roots in Brazil in 1985, our growth has continued fast, going from one operation and 512 employees in Brazil in 2016 to 4 operations (with the addition of Argentina, Colombia and Peru) and 1,400 employees today.
In Brazil alone, we have invested an average of €10,093,803 (US$11,843,364) annually in recent years. This investment has gone toward upgrading existing facilities and adding new modern, energy-efficient facilities and equipment, as well as appointing dedicated, highly skilled staff to champion the success of our customers and the cause of sustainability.
The year 2019 marked an important milestone. That was when Peru became home to our first Latin American business unit outside of Brazil, and later that year, we began operating in Colombia. We have recently added Aviagen Argentina, with Parent Stock (PS) production slated to start in 2022. In Peru and Colombia alone, we have already invested close to €6.5 million (about US$7.6 million) to expand production capacity and modernise existing facilities.
We now have 4 strong bases for supplying local markets and exporting high-quality broiler breeders to customers throughout the region, helping to strengthen their economic sustainability and their ability to offer their communities an affordable, healthy food source.
In addition to the economic sustainability of the industry in Latin America and beyond, we are committed to breeding sustainability in the environment for future generations. This is a core company value and especially important as we increase production to meet the growing demand for a sustainable source of protein. Ongoing advancement in feed conversion ratio (FCR), performance measurement of the rate at which feed is converted to live body weight, is made possible by our genetic selection and balanced breeding programme. Progress made over the past decade has contributed significantly to reducing the industry’s carbon footprint, helping to minimise the impact of poultry meat production on the environment.
This year, Gustavo Vilela accepted the position of environment coordinator for Brazil and Latin America. As our champion for the earth, Gustavo will lead our sustainability efforts in this growing and robust region while also providing opportunities for greater learning and collaboration with Brazilian organisations that have sustainable development as their mission. Gustavo has a considerable background in environmental management. He holds a degree in Environmental Engineering, an education extension in low carbon management, a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in Entrepreneurial Business Management and a degree in Security Engineering.
We are also engaged in various sustainability projects in the region. For example, earlier this year, we joined the JBS Fund in Brazil to promote the sustainable development of the Amazon Biome (an area that contains the Amazon rainforest, a region of tropical rainforest, and other ecoregions that cover most of the Amazon basin and some adjacent areas). The JBS initiatives focus on forest conservation and restoration, community development and science and technology advancement.
Not only do we care about the planet, but we also care about the people in the communities where we operate. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our colleagues in Latin America donated a large quantity of food, supplies and funds to hospitals and elderly facilities throughout their communities. The team also supported social and health programmes for the youth, such as teaching “caipira”, traditional Brazilian music, to teenagers in a local school and encouraging teens to try diverse sports. We also sponsored ‘Orchestra Rock’, dedicated to bringing together famous singers in Brazil to collect funds for Boldrini Hospital, which specialises in caring for children with cancer and is one of the leading pediatric cancer research centres in Brazil and Latin America.
At Aviagen, we see sustainability as a journey instead of a destination. Our future depends on the sustainable work we do today. As we team with our customers to increase production to feed our ever-growing communities, we strive every day to achieve greater sustainability for the future of the industry, the world, and its people.