Hema Prado has been named director of sustainability, a new position, at the American Egg Board. She will oversee and develop a new sustainability program and report to Mickey Rubin, PhD, executive director of the AEB’s Egg Nutrition Center.
Prado has 20 years of experience in environmental, agricultural and health issues spanning government, non-profit groups and the private sector. Most recently she worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency as senior adviser for agriculture in the office of the administrator.
“The issues we plan to address are complex,” Prado says. “Sustainability entails everything from responsible environmental stewardship to animal welfare to food waste and much more. The solutions will require a big tent. I’m looking forward to engaging and partnering with our egg industry and agriculture stakeholders, our customers and parties outside of the industry — including environmental groups, technologists and thought leaders — to develop proactive, scientifically sound and rigorous solutions to the challenges we face.”
She adds, “At the end of the day, we hope to not only prescribe how to effect and measure continuous on-farm improvement, but also to provide our partners in retail, foodservice and manufacturing with the data and tools they need to track and forecast the industry’s progress and drive their own decisions.”
Prado also previously worked for Progressive Health Worldwide, where she was director of an international program to bring medicine and nutrition to children in remote rural villages, and for the Environmental Working Group, where she was an analyst on agricultural and toxic issues.
Prado received a master’s degree in science in environmental management from the University of Maryland University College (now known as University of Maryland Global Campus) and a bachelor of arts degree in environmental studies and psychology from Pitzer College.
Washington-based AEB has a new five-year plan that includes industry efforts to advance the science that measures on-farm continuous improvement in the areas of sustainability, hen care and other purpose-driven production metrics, as well as enhance understanding of the role of eggs in sustainable food and agricultural systems. The AEB is working with the United Egg Producers, an industry trade association, on several fronts, including a lifestyle assessment conducted in partnership with the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University. The AEB and the UEP are both members of the US Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs and the International Poultry Welfare Alliance.
“Everything we do at the American Egg Board is designed to meet consumers where they are and is derived from data and insights,” says Emily Metz, president and chief executive officer of the AEB. “As far as the consumer is concerned, sustainability, animal welfare and purpose-driven production are the new table stakes in the food industry — comparable to traditional product benefits like quality, nutritional value and affordability.
“Hema Prado has the experience and expertise to lead the research and education programs that will support the egg industry and its customers in telling this important production and environmental story and innovating around these values — securing the consumer’s trust and assuring prosperity for future generations of US egg farmers.”