HKScan Aiming at Carbon-neutral Food Production

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HKScan Aiming at Carbon-neutral Food Production

HKScan Aiming at Carbon-neutral Food Production
January 15
10:08 2021
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HKScan, the Nordic meat and food group, has set the goal of carbon neutrality of its own industrial production by the end of 2025 and carbon neutrality of the entire food chain from farms to consumers by the end of 2040 at the latest. Climate work is carried out in all our home market areas in Finland, Sweden, the Baltics and Denmark. Achieving the targets requires both a significant reduction of emissions and an increase in carbon sinks together with contract farmers and other partners. This work is led in line with the company’s own Zero Carbon climate plan.

The Zero Carbon climate plan shows the stepping stones for HKScan to achieve carbon neutrality as one of the major food companies in the Baltic Sea region. HKScan has determined and calculated the emissions of its entire value chain together with KPMG experts specialising in carbon footprint calculation. The identification of emission sources initially directs measures to activities with the greatest climate impact. These include energy solutions in our own production and feeds, field farming and circular use of manure in primary production.

“We have set ambitious targets and together with our contract farmers and other partners, we move towards them humbly but determinedly. It’s important for us to work long-term and create permanent, more climate-friendly operating models. At the same time, we understand that we are only at the beginning of our journey and we invite our stakeholders to follow our progress,” says HKScan’s CEO Tero Hemmilä.

“For almost two years now, we have successfully implemented the Turnaround programme improving HKScan’s profitability, and it’s clear that advanced corporate responsibility work is increasingly closely linked to business profitability. The Zero Carbon climate plan is a key part of HKScan’s responsibility work and business management. At the same time, we are also creating the conditions for our contract farmers’ future competitiveness and for consumers to be able to enjoy responsibly produced meat products in good conscience as part of a varied diet.”

From plan to climate action

HKScan carried out an extensive survey throughout the Group and calculated the company’s climate emissions from farms to consumers in all of its home markets in Finland, Sweden, the Baltics and Denmark. In 2019, the total emissions were some 2.4 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)* of which the company’s own industrial production accounts for some five per cent. In the Baltic Sea region countries, food production accounts for approximately 20 per cent of climate emissions, of which meat production accounts for about a half. The most significant emissions in meat production are related to feed production and land use of fields.

Corporate responsibility work has long been a key part of HKScan’s business. From 2014 to 2020, company’s work has been successful; HKScan has reduced the emissions of its own industrial production by over 70 per cent, for example, by introducing green, renewable electricity in its production units and by systematically improving energy efficiency. At the end of 2020, all HKScan’s production units had already switched to renewable electricity. HKScan takes climate impacts into account in all investment decisions and continuously develops the energy efficiency of its production. A significant reduction in the carbon footprint of packaging plays an important role as part of the climate plan.

Climate impacts of agriculture reduced through cooperation

HKScan’s contract farms have long worked to reduce the climate impact, for example by increasing the circular economy use of manure, introducing solar power and promoting resource efficiency in feed production.

In the first years of the Zero Carbon climate plan, HKScan and its contract farmers will together reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture especially by reducing the climate impact of feed production by optimising the use of fertilizers and other production inputs, by developing the circular economy use of manure and promoting the carbon sequestration in the fields with its partners. The actions will focus particularly on reducing emissions from feed production and land use, with high climate impacts. Promotion of resource efficiency and carbon sequestration in field farming are at the heart of the action. HKScan invites its contract farmers to join the climate training and provides tools to develop more sustainable meat production.

“We have a long tradition in the contract farming of meat. We are gradually moving to the next evolution phase in the development of contract farming, where responsibility work will be built more closely into contract farming. This work requires diverse expertise so in addition to us and our contract farmers, other companies and expert and research organisations are involved. Together, we are looking into new ways to reduce climate impacts and scale good practices across our home markets with an ecosystem-based operating model,” says Tero Hemmilä.

HKScan involved in building of local carbon sinks

Contract farms in HKScan’s food chain have significant potential to increase carbon sequestration. Measures can be targeted at field and forest farming. Plant species selection and farming methods play an important role in carbon sequestration in fields. Together with its contract farmers, the company is developing ways to measure and increase the carbon sinks in fields. In addition, HKScan is looking into opportunities to increase carbon sequestration in the forests owned by its contract farmers.

* HKScan’s climate emission calculation was conducted in line with the GHG Protocol based on HKScan’s own emission source data. The calculation includes the direct (scope 1) and indirect (scope 2) emissions from company’s own industrial production and those from the food chain outside the company’s own production (scope 3). For the value chain outside of the company’s own industrial production, the calculation includes the major emission sources, e.g. feed production, land use, manure, packaging materials, waste, business travel and transportation. HKScan’s climate emissions have been calculated in line with the GHG Protocol (scope 1-3). KPMG has validated the accuracy and completeness of the data. 

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