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INTERVIEW

“Std can help identify cost-saving opportunities to up profitability”
Monday, 21 November, 2022, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
BSI is a business improvement and standards company that enables organisations to turn standards of best practice into habits of excellence. Working with over 77,500 clients across 195 countries, BSI has expertise across all sectors including automotive, aerospace, built environment, food, retail and healthcare. Through its expertise in standards and knowledge, assurance services, regulatory services and consulting services, BSI helps clients to improve their performance, grow sustainably, manage risk and ultimately become more resilient.

Reghu Kumar, head, sustainability, in an email interaction with Ashwani Maindola, speaks about BSI's India operations, sustainability, food safety and more.  Excerpts:

How do you see the 'role of the food industry' in ensuring holistic nutrition and how can food businesses ensure that?
Food demands from consumers are changing faster than ever. Growing healthy, ethical and environmental conscientiousness is creating a demand for sustainable foods that provide excellent nutrition. These demands will have long-term effects on how we produce food, especially in the areas of plant-based and alternative proteins, sustainable farming practices and the development of functional foods. Adoption of technology and exploring alternative foods will be central to more sustainable eating habits.

What are the key trends impacting food safety in recent times? Elaborate.
Food safety trends are significantly influenced by consumer demands, environmental impact, and the economic status of a nation. Post-pandemic approach to food services has been aggressive as businesses are finding more ways to safeguard the health of their consumers. Sustainability remains top trend among food businesses. Communities and the food industry consider achieving complete sustainability a good performance measure. More companies are expected to pursue sustainability as one of their main objectives in the coming years. The global food supply chain is one of the most complex yet important logistics programmes our world needs,especially post-pandemic. The system can expect stricter food regulations to control food safety and protect public health.

What challenges did food companies face in recent times, how has been the approach of the food businesses towards mitigating those? Your analysis.
In the post-Covid world, businesses are looking for wholesome utilisation of digital technologies to drive profitable and efficient business models, which has its own set of challenges like traditional operations vs automation and data-driven structure or lack of cyber understanding amongst the business leaders. The failure of understanding and mismanagement of IOTs used in food industries are some of the major challenges surfacing in the food industry.

How are companies like yours helping food businesses in minimising the impact of food safety challenges?
There are several standards food producers can use to help with meeting net zero targets.The BSI’s PAS 2060 standard enables food producers to demonstrate carbon neutrality of their business via a four-stage process. These stages include:
  • Assessment of GHG emissions based on accurate measurement data
  • Reduction of emissions through a target-driven carbon management plan
  • Offsetting of emissions, and
  • Documentation and verification through public disclosure and explanatory statements
The ISO 14064 standard has guidelines for quantifying, reporting and verifying GHG emissions (at both organisation and project level). This standard can help with identifying cost-saving opportunities to increase profitability, improving corporate reputation, becoming more attractive to potential investors, preparing for future legislative requirements and setting a benchmark against competitors.

The ISO 14067 standard specifies principles and guidelines for analysing and verifying the carbon footprint of a product throughout each life cycle stage, from farming and transportation, to packaging and managing food waste.  

The ISO 14001 standard defines environmental management systems that food producers can use to improve efficiency and environmental performance within their organisation. This includes guidance across multiple aspects of a business, from procurement of suppliers, and also manufacturing, to storage and distribution of food items, focusing on how businesses can reduce their impact on the environment.

The ISO 50001 standard is focused on ways food producers can manage and improve energy use via the development of an energy management system. It offers food businesses a framework which includes developing policies to become more energy-efficient, setting targets for achieving these energy efficiencies, and using data to make more informed decisions around energy use. This allows food producers to measure, review and continually improve their energy use.

How do you see the role of technologies in helping food companies tackle the possibilities of food safety debacles?
Technology is evolving to streamline and address food safety challenges. Supply chain technology systems or inventory management software that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve traceability can help detect spoilage before an item reaches its destination.  The food industry has embraced technology for a more transparent food supply chain.

Your company is into certification, audit and training. Tell us briefly about that.
BSI is appointed by the UK Government as the National Standards Body and represents UK interests at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the European Standards Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI).  BSI traces its origins to 1901 and became the world’s first National Standards Body. Our role is to help improve the quality, safety and integrity of products, services and systems by facilitating the creation and maintenance of consensus based, market led standards and encouraging their use. BSI publishes over 2,700 standards annually and withdraws over 1,500 old or superseded standards using a collaborative approach, engaging with industry experts, government bodies, trade associations, businesses of all sizes and consumers to develop standards that reflect good practice. Our training hub helps clients understand these standard requirements and embed the best practices within their organisation. BSI auditors who are professionals and experts in the field help identify gaps if any in the system and take them to the next level on the continual improvement path.
 
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