Knowledge and quality management

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Part of our mission is to strengthen our work as well as the animal protection movement by evaluating our work and by sharing information.

Providing well-founded information

We put a high emphasis on using scientifically sound sources for everything we publish – especially so for our cornerstone articles about each of the commonly farmed animal species, vegan nutrition and health, and the environmental and socio-economic impacts of animal farming. Our reasoning behind this is that the animal protection movement must be credible if it wants to gain more influence. When it comes to ensuring the quality of our work we can rely on our scientific advisory board.

Our articles are increasingly used by other organizations (animal protection and beyond), book authors, the media, Wikipedia, etc. Since 2013, our articles have been cited in at least 22 books. The media also often refers to these articles when going into depth.

Furthermore, our in-house knowledge and quality management department (headed by the chief operating officer) places us in a position to ensure a well thought out overall knowledge management, thereby continuously establishing how to generate, evaluate and make available the knowledge we can then use in our work in a manner as efficiently and effectively as possible. In doing so, we make use of tools such as Zotero (a reference management software), Jira Service Desk (mainly for the handling of internal requests) and Confluence (a Wiki that is free of charge for NGOs). We are also planning to publish some of the knowledge we have gathered such as a list and an evaluation of theories on behavioral change and their implications for veg. consumer outreach.

Study into meat alternatives

In 2017, we published our first-ever externally commissioned study. The subject of the study – “Meat Alternatives: Nutritional Evaluation of Conventional and Organic Vegetarian and Vegan Meat and Sausage Alternatives” – was chosen because of its current relevance and topicality; the study itself was conducted by the Institute for Alternative and Sustainable Food (IFANE). The study shows that plant-based meats are (with some exceptions) the healthier choice.

The published results acquired significant media resonance and caught the attention of further multipliers in the nutrition sector. Overall, we are confident that our study provided a methodically sound basis that, provided it continues to receive media attention and is cited in research projects, will continue to contribute to a nuanced and much more positive impression of meat alternatives in the future.

Initiating and supporting science

From time to time, we work with students, scientists and universities, offering student internships and attending expert conferences. We also provide students with input for their bachelor’s and master’s theses.

We worked with the Fachhochschule des Mittelstands, a college of higher education, to establish the “Institute for Ethical Nutrition” and the B. A. program “Vegan Food Management”. Graduates will help food companies to expand and to improve their vegan offerings. Our involvement stretches from introducing the idea to working out details, suggesting a professor and helping with accreditation to designing and teaching some courses. The first trimester started in October 2016.

Surveys and evaluations to improve projects and materials

We are constantly evaluating and improving our work: We implement monitoring measures, detect potentials, review and set goals, define target groups and analyze the actual impact of our work. Thus, we were able to permanently revise and improve our main leaflet and our Vegan Taste Week.

To further professionalize the work of our evaluation team and to anchor its role as an advisor to the foundation in matters relating to evaluations, we introduced evaluation guidelines in 2017; these have been implemented throughout the foundation in 2018. This will ensure that our future evaluation work is based on the standards of the DeGEval (German Evaluation Society).

Since 2018, our chief operating officer and the associated knowledge and quality management department have ensured an even more focused quality management. The department’s objective for the years to come is to provide, among other things, an even more precise definition of as well as detailed standards and measures for our work’s quality.

Improving project management

In 2016, we have done an analysis on the areas we want to improve in regarding our project management. We have developed and implemented some solutions and released an internal guide for project management. This guide is regularly updated and adjusted to meet the concrete needs of our departments. Furthermore, we plan to constantly improve our entire staff’s project management skills by offering workshops on the topic. Thus, we are able to ensure efficient and effective projects.

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