At Genus, sustainability is at the heart of our business.
As the global population continues to expand and our climate begins to change, the natural and human systems we rely on to produce our food are under increasing stress.
We believe that animal genetics are core to helping producers meet the increased demands for affordable, nutritious food for all, using fewer resources of water, energy and land, at a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions of alternative systems.
Our core mission is to partner with farmers to help them to produce high quality, affordable meat and milk more efficiently and sustainably. Through the rapid methods of animal genetic improvement we have pioneered over many decades, we offer our customers an opportunity for measurable reductions in their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, use of water, land and other natural resources.
As we transition towards low-carbon solutions to provide our food and as policy makers across the globe introduce taxes and incentives to encourage this, food producers seek low-cost ways to help reduce their animal feed bills, to make their herds more productive and to reduce waste.
Sustainable food system starts with animal breeding
We believe genomic approaches to animal breeding offer the most cost-effective way to lower GHG emissions. Our approach focuses not only on improved animal performance but also on improved health and wellbeing, which has the potential to reduce the need for antibiotics and veterinary care, something that can be prohibitively expensive for farmers.
We are pioneering a number of breakthrough technologies, such as gene-editing and advanced reproductive techniques. These offer an immediate and effective response to food security threats such as those posed by novel viruses like porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), which causes late-term reproductive failure and respiratory disease in pigs.
Pioneering animal genetic improvement
Our purpose at Genus is to pioneer animal genetic improvement to help nourish the world1 . Our role is to help farmers remove the guesswork when breeding animals. We identify and select animal ‘traits’ linked to how efficiently animal feeds can be turned into meat or milk, how the quality of the meat and milk can be maximised, and how animals’ susceptibility to disease can be reduced. We then use genomic selection to improve these traits with every new generation. Ultimately, as our genetics are distributed through the animal protein supply chain, our customers produce milk and meat more efficiently and sustainably as they produce animal protein to help nourish the world.
Our sustainability strategy comprises five pillars which support our approach. Our progress in the last financial year, including key performance indicators where relevant, and our current year goals, can be seen here.
1 FAO report on the future of food and agriculture 2017 identifies around 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger.
Committed to sustainability in all of our operations
Sustainability is integral to what we do.
We believe animal genetic improvement is critical to improving animal protein productivity, while at the same time reducing GHG emissions –and helping the world remain within 1.5 degrees of warming.2
We take a balanced, evidence-driven approach to sustainability in all of our own operations. Working with our customers, our people and others in our value chain, we have identified a set of issues, risks and opportunities that defines our sustainability strategy. It is important to us that our governance systems are robust, and there is accountability for targets, plans and indicators across the organisation.
Sustainable innovation through our Research and Development
At Genus, R&D is also central to our sustainability efforts. Farmers have applied their animal and breeding knowledge to improve our food for centuries. Genus aims to further enhance the quality, quantity and carbon performance of milk and meat by harnessing the information contained in the genetic data linked to our animals and applying this to increase the welfare, productivity, resilience of the next animal generation.
We believe our R&D innovations provide considerable benefits to our customers – such as improving animal performance through better feed conversion, animal welfare through disease resistance, and carbon emissions through less GHG emissions per kg of meat or litre of milk.
By helping farmers produce more protein from fewer animals, and by breeding animals that are better matched to local climatic constraints, we are strengthening the resilience of food systems to climate change and, at the same time, reducing agricultural GHG emissions.
Governance and Policies
We operate robust governance systems, providing the Board and executive management with oversight of our sustainability practices. We use policies to guide our sustainability initiatives and these defined standards then ensure compliance with local regulatory requirements and ethical standards. By implementing strong governance standards, we enable the integration of sustainability into day to day and long term business management and planning.