A new cross-sector collaboration effort, led by UK-based Forum for the Future (FFTF) sustainability advocacy association, is looking to improve sustainability in edible oils and fats production and use.

The initiative aimed to identify and move on approaches that had potential to scale and shift the edible oils and fats sector towards a more sustainable platform, FFTF told FoodNavigator.com on 15 September.

The ultimate goal of the effort was to get businesses, investors and governments to take sustainability and health into account when making decisions on product formulation, sourcing, innovation and investments.

FFTF also said companies that got involved would be better positioned to understand and seize commercial opportunities in the sector.

The project was at a “very early” stage, which involved desk-based research, system mapping and dialogue and interviews with industry stakeholders, said founding member Volac, a UK dairy nutrition product manufacturer.

“We need joined up discussion that includes representatives from feed and food industries, NGOs and retailers on the future use and production of feed and food oils and fats. We want to get ahead of the curve,” said Volac head of corporate affairs Andy Richardson.

According to Volac, responsibly obtained feed fats could have a “critical role” in ensuring a more sustainable global livestock production chain.

“Oils and fats are an essential part of a nutritionally balanced diet for humans and livestock, but the way we’re producing and consuming them is thought by many to be unsustainable. Finite resources and increasing competition are affecting the security and sustainability of supply. The debate on the ‘right’ oils and fats is also polarised,” said Richardson.

Volac said it was issuing a call to action to other players along the oils and fats supply chain, inviting them to join the project with the aim to establish a cross-sectoral consensus on what kind action was needed and to establish common themes and principles.