The meat industry needs to start thinking green if it is going to engage with Defra, delegates at this year's AIMS conference heard.
Andrew Slade, director for sustainability, intelligence and rural affairs at the Government Office South West, said that Defra's main agenda was on climate change and sustainable development.
"If you can't speak towards that agenda then you may find yourselves struggling to get Defra's attention," he warned. "Promoting sustainable development is a core priority, as is climate change... you need to be able to talk the language of climate change and how you can contribute to that."
He said work was in progress on regulation plans and questioned how engaged the meat sector was in those discussions. "I would think there is quite a bit in sustainable food procurement for AIMS members." He said that policy was now being devolved and delivered on a local level, and AIMs members needed to be talking to the Regional Development Agency.