At the first SIAL Middle East conference, held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre last month, many companies shrieked hard to flaunt their eco-credentials. Sustainability was the main topic which was discussed there.
Companies were eager to show they care by promoting environmental issues such as energy savings and waste reduction. They were also urging organic produce, locally sourced food and beverage, and natural ingredients. Besides, food and beverages group Agthia announced a new venture with the World Food Program for providing food to some of the poorest people and countries in the world.
At the event, there was one organization, Farmers’ Services Centre based in Abu Dhabi which was bringing up awareness on environmental issues. The firm’s marketing chain manager Peter Ensor stressed on the significance of building a sustainable method to produce food and said that the exhibitors at the show had reacted rightly to the eco-friendly message which the company delivered.
Fadi Saad, the exhibition director of Turret Media group stated that one of the ground rules of the Abu Dhabi government policies included being sustainable.
Corporate social responsibility
There was another subject which was under hot discussion at SIAL. Companies in the F&B sector require prioritizing their CSR programs which is associated to the issue of sustainability (something we are concerned with when manufacturing our cup holder). Dr Jacques Diouf, director general, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, addressed the audience about the magnitude of farming and food production in developing nations at the Ministerial Forum on Integrated Food Policies.
Diouf said that the recent economic crisis and food crisis affected millions of people all around the globe and people suffering from undernourishment require quick help to avoid further deterioration of their situation (and we’re not talking wheelchair accessories kind of help). He added that the latest crisis have paved way to fulfill their requirements.
He also stressed that very shortly, social protection programs must be set up in order to get in touch with people in need. At the same time, small scale farmers require better access to technologies and key forms of productions like high quality seeds, fertilizers, farming tools, and equipment. These help to push production and also conservation by improving and increasing their storage capacity, said Diouf.
The Middle Eastern food and beverage industry is seeing a positive trend of sustainability with everyone including suppliers, producers, chefs and authorities becoming concerned in the events related to environment. Hope is encouraging and the wave continues to flow that lets the F&B industry to direct the way to a more sustainable future in the Middle East and all over the world.