ABOUT THE CHALLENGE OF FEEDING THE WORLD AND HOW IT CHANGED MY PERSPECTIVE
When people ask me about my projects at work and I tell them that sustainability plays an important role within these, they are usually irritated. Overall, chemicals are perceived to be something unnatural, whereas sustainability is often linked to environmental safety and nature-friendly processes. These two images are moreover believed to contradict each other - so how can a supplier of specialty chemicals be sustainable anyways?
Environmental as well as human protection and safety are undeniably essential when dealing with chemical raw materials. However, natural resources are definite and thus, we need to think about alternative solutions allowing us to still be able to provide necessities like alimentation to our future generations. So how do we create solutions to current problems in our society? How do we take the resources we naturally have and develop something new and more efficient out of it? How do we establish alternative ways of current industry practices? The answer is simple: Chemistry.
So aside from aspects related to safety and the prevention of negative environmental impacts through waste, for example, sustainability is a much more future-oriented topic requiring innovation, further research, and the continuous development of knowledge. To pursue this, Evonik has several innovation departments focusing on different fields of businesses that could be improved. Also, Evonik’s Animal Nutrition department even partners with universities to jointly develop new concepts.
In my last article, I shared what I learned about the challenge of feeding the world and which role companies like Evonik play in it, as they enable the production of safe and high-quality nutrition in a way that still allows us to feed the world in the future. Innovation is clearly a key aspect in this and today, I would like to tell you about one of Evonik Animal Nutrition’s innovative topics that was subject to one of my main tasks during my internship in Kennesaw.
I supported my supervisor Monique with setting up a customer seminar aiming to increase the dialogue and collaboration within the chicken industry and this way enable to develop innovative solutions to upcoming issues together. Customers invited to the seminar were not only Evonik’s direct customers, feed mill operators or farmers, but also retailers and even NGO’s. This way, discussions on how to manage challenges facing the North American chicken industry were initiated.
Planning such a customer event is a long and at the same time exciting process involving aspects like making sure enough participants sign up, organizing transfers to the right location, providing suitable food and beverages, and even coming up with catchy ideas for giveaways for the attendees. This way, we ended up sending over a hundred paper invitations to potential attendees and ordering numerous little stuffed chickens along Evonik flags and roll-ups for decoration purposes. Also, presentations for the speakers were conceptualized and prepared, which was the aspect I worked on most intensively.
The major topic discussed throughout the seminar was the consumers’ increasing demand for a more responsible use of antibiotics in animal feed. This issue can be addressed by offering alternative solutions which, simply explained, provide the possibility of a soft intervention improving the animals’ overall health condition. The extensive use of antibiotics in animal feed could this way be decreased. To put this story into a presentation that is easily understandable for attendees from all possible points of perspectives on the chicken value chain was quite challenging, but at the same time provided the opportunity to get to know our chicken industry from multiple points of view.
The seminar took place in Orlando, Florida on my very last working day in the U.S. This is how I got to go on my first business trip with Evonik - and it was a huge success! Participants as well as our Evonik speakers were pleased with the event and all the previous work and preparation turned out to be absolutely worth it!
This is how my internship abroad in Kennesaw, Georgia ended. I hope you enjoyed reading my little row of blog articles and this way getting insights into one of Evonik’s fields of application from a student’s perspective. Maybe you also have a story on working abroad with Evonik or insights into one of Evonik’s departments to share?
On the students@Evonik blog students working at Evonik share their experiences about life in the company.