As we come to the end of 2023, it is the traditional moment for reflection and looking back and ahead. 2023 was a year with an unprecedented geo-political turbulence. Compared to that the rendering business was calm, although some very important topics for the long-term interest of our business were addressed.
Fortunately, we have seen energy prices returning to more normal levels, in line with the long term average. It helps us to manage our business properly. But we have been confronted here with the impact of the availability of energy and energy costs on our business. Therefore, it accelerated the process for energy saving programs and initiatives towards renewable energy. Never waste a good crisis is the saying, and perhaps this is true here as well.
Of strategic importance for the rendering sector were the discussions on how our products, specifically animal fats, would be governed in road, aviation and maritime transport. All of which were encompassed by the Renewable Energy, ReFuelEU Aviation regulation and FuelEU Maritime Regulation. Maybe these were the most important dossiers for our industry in many years.
And thanks to the efforts of EFPRA we ensured our products were on the radars of regulators for positive reasons and reached a favourable outcome. It is confirmation of the low carbon intensity and sustainability of our products. This was crucial for the industry because energy has become the most important outlet for our fat products over recent years and it lays a solid foundation for the valorisation concept of ABP’s.
So, what can we expect in 2024? Outstanding regulatory matters such as fertiliser end points including category 1 ash as fertiliser and processing methods for porcine PAPs will rule our future agenda. No doubt, some new challenges will pop up in 2024 as well. We have all come to accept the slow movement of the regulatory machinery, but we can be hopeful that 2024 brings the expected outcome here.
Over the last few years, I think we have got better at explaining the value and importance of what we do. In all our discussions and dossiers, we have one powerful argument: we produce natural and sustainable ingredients! The idea that we can contribute to a better world drives me to engage myself for the interests of the industry.
I would like to thank everyone who has committed themselves to the interests of the rendering industry during the past year. Only in this way can we continue to make progress on the often complicated files. By working together and bundling knowledge, we can enhance our reputation as a professional and know-how sector organization.
Next June, my home country, the Netherlands is hosting the 22nd EFPRA Congress from 12–14 June in Amsterdam. Some of my colleagues at Darling Ingredients and also staff from Royal Ten Kate are finalising the event details and booking will soon be open. The congress has developed in a broad meeting place for all who have an interest in our industry. So, we look forward to meeting all of you here.
But there are other important things in life besides the business. This is also the time of the year to enjoy some well-deserved rest with family and loved ones during the Christmas and winter holidays. Don’t forgot to celebrate those precious moments together. I look forward to seeing you in 2024 at Congress if not before. So for now, let’s celebrate this special time of the year. I bring a toast to all the good friendships and future successes of EFPRA.