Vision Achieved with Trusted Advisor

CLIENT: American Veal Association

The Challenge

The American Veal Association (AVA) represents the majority of milk-fed veal produced in the United States. Its members include businesses and individuals, from veal farmers to feed companies and veal processors.  While veal is a small sector within the broader protein industry, the commitment of veal farmers to uphold animal welfare, environmental stewardship, food safety, health and wellness, as well as labor and human rights, is no less underscored than commitments from other major protein producers. Veal production is often misunderstood, creating challenges for the organization, companies, brands and producers to instill consumer confidence in its product and people. In response, the association sought a partner with a proven track record in stakeholder engagement, reputation management and animal protein knowledge.

The Results

Our Approach

In 2010, AVA embarked on a quest for strategic communication excellence, which led to the organization’s development of a defining Statement of Principles. With extensive knowledge of the animal protein supply chain, consumer insights, and proven tactics to interpret stakeholder feedback, the Look East team curated a Statement of Principle that was ahead of its time. This comprehensive document emphasized the memberships’ dedication to ethical and sustainable production practices including animal welfare, food safety, environmental stewardship, worker safety, training and wellbeing, and community relations.

While the original components of the Statement of Principles align closely with the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) plans which have taken a strong hold across all businesses and industries today, AVA’s leadership knew it was time for this document to evolve.

Building from the visionary work of the Statement of Principles, Look East was charged with the development of the organization’s Ethical Commitment to further demonstrate the industry’s commitment to animals, people and natural resources, and measure that commitment with the inclusion of goals, indicators and target dates.

As a trusted advisor to AVA, Look East facilitated essential dialogues with industry stakeholders to create the new commitments that include outcome-based measures. Look East provided ESG expertise, insights and knowledge including integrating the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI) Protein Pact goals into the content. As a result, the Ethical Commitments focus on quantifying, tracking and reporting veal production practices aligned with the core components of ESG and the Protein Pact frameworks.

The Results

Guiding strategic conversations with stakeholders, Look East provided oversight for a framework that represents a unified voice within the veal industry and provides a meaningful evolution of their original Statement of Principles. The Ethical Commitments articulate the pledge AVA members are making within each core principle area, including setting target dates and stages to move the AVA forward. The process also involved a commitment to complete the first-ever Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for the veal industry. Look East provided leadership to the association to explore vendors for this study, commit funding for the effort, and launch the LCA which is scheduled to be completed in late 2024.

AVA President, Sonia Arnold, PhD, values Look East as a devoted partner and advisor for the organization’s journey addressing critical issues in animal protein. “We could not have achieved the progression we did as an organization without Look East’s leadership, skill set, and expertise. Their collaborative partnership continues to provide unwavering guidance through the ever-evolving marketplace.”

The AVA’s Ethical Commitments can be viewed on their website: AVA Releases Ethical Commitments, Launches First Ever LCA Study of U.S. Veal — American Veal Association