The world faces profound challenges—and as we tackle them, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon framed the stakes perfectly: “There is no Plan B because we do not have a Planet B. We have to work and galvanize our action.”1
Ki-moon also said, “ours can be the first generation to end poverty—and the last generation to address climate change before it is too late.”2
This generation of Canadian egg farmers is committed to both fights. We want to do our part to end poverty, while reducing our impact on the environment. Our fellow Canadians deserve nothing less.
It’s why we’re proud to join forces with our colleagues at the World Egg Organisation and across agriculture to help fulfill the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is more than social responsibility for us. It’s a way of life, and now we are doing even more in collaboration with our global partners.
So, what are the Sustainable Development Goals? First things first: there’s absolutely nothing else like them. All countries have committed to them. They aim to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty, to heal and secure our planet.3 No small ambitions—but essential ambitions. The 17 SDGs and their 169 corresponding targets are the concrete goalposts towards victory. And everyone has a role to play—big or small.
The World Egg Organisation has identified six of those goals where the egg industry is making a significant impact: achieving zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, responsible consumption and production, climate action and partnerships. Our work here in Canada and around the world specifically address these goals by doing what we do best:
GOAL 2: END HUNGER, ACHIEVE FOOD SECURITY AND IMPROVED NUTRITION AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE.
Bringing the goodness of eggs to vulnerable people is a key thrust of our philanthropic work. Here at home, we support Food Banks Canada and Breakfast Club of Canada—collectively delivering millions of eggs to vulnerable Canadians and children through community food banks and school breakfast programs. Abroad, we work in rural Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) through Heart for Africa (Canada), and send life-saving powdered eggs to regions of the world where it is most needed through Canadian Food For Children. Thousands of local people enjoy nutritious eggs as a result of these partnerships—in areas of the world that desperately need accessible sources of protein.
GOAL 3: ENSURE HEALTHY LIVES AND PROMOTE WELL-BEING FOR ALL AT ALL AGES.
Helping others understand egg nutrition and the benefits of eating eggs as part of a balanced diet is a core focus of Egg Farmers of Canada. Study after study shows how critical protein is for human health—and in particular, the healthy growth of children. Nothing matters more than making sure our kids have the best chance in life. Eggs can play a part in that important work. One study alone conducted by the Egg Nutrition Centre found that adding eggs to the diets of 6 to 8 year old children in undernourished areas of Uganda significantly increased their height and weight.4
GOAL 4: ENSURE INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE QUALITY EDUCATION AND PROMOTE LIFELONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL.
Perhaps one of the most effective way of empowering others is by ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to thrive. Sharing our expertise starts with nurturing young leaders in our industry and encouraging continuous education through our national young farmer program. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of agricultural leaders to take an active role in their sector by sharing knowledge, experience and expertise. And by sharing resources and our farming practices with egg farmers around the world, we are playing a small part in giving others the sustenance they need to thrive.
GOAL 12: ENSURE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS.
We take a truly holistic view of sustainability. It’s more than just about the environment: it’s about the long-term sustainability of the Canadian egg supply. It’s why our farmers operate under a comprehensive Animal Welfare Program and national food safety program called Start Clean-Stay Clean®. These programs are followed by every Canadian egg farmer from coast to coast to coast, and supported by a professional team of on-farm inspectors.
GOAL 13: TAKE URGENT ACTION TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACTS.
Over the course of five decades, our industry has made an extraordinary achievement: reducing our environmental footprint by 50% and increasing egg production by 50% over the past 50 years. But our tale of three fifties is only one chapter of our sustainability story. We are continually striving to reduce our resource use while ensuring Canadians have access to a consistent supply of fresh, Canadian eggs. We are also working with leading researchers, like Dr. Nathan Pelletier, to explore the best practices regarding sustainable intensifications and resource management, among other efficiencies.
GOAL 17: STRENGTHEN THE MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION AND REVITALIZE THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
The challenges we will face over the coming decades are significant—we have a lot of work to do. It is through collaboration that we will achieve new levels of success. Much like the World Egg Organisation, we recognize the need to continue building relationships and partnerships across our value chain in the spirit of continuous improvement and collaboration. By working with our members, our communities and our partners, we can grow our efforts and invest in a more sustainable tomorrow. We’re all part of that fight—Canada’s egg farmers included. We’re looking forward to doing our part, while doing what we love: farming eggs for Canadians.
1 United Nations Foundation
2 United Nations Foundation
3 United Nations
4 Jamie I. Baum, Jefferson D. Miller & Brianna L. Gaines (2017) The effect of egg supplementation on growth parameters in children participating in a school feeding program in rural Uganda: a pilot study, Food & Nutrition Research, 61:1, DOI.