May 31, 2021

HKScan successfully calculates carbon footprint of chicken production


HKScan has successfully calculated the environmental footprint of its HKScan AgroFood Ecosystem pilot farm, the company announced.


The calculation included the carbon and water footprints of primary production of HKScan's Kariniemen chicken and the impact of production on eutrophication and biodiversity. The results show that a large part of environmental impact comes from feed.


Initial data were collected from the farm in question for one calendar year. HKScan's calculation found that its carbon and water footprint of its chicken were at a good level. The eutrophication effect was estimated to be low.


Additionally, activities that maintain biodiversity have been taken into account in the operating environment.


"We are proud to be the first in the world to announce the environmental footprint of the primary production of broilers," said Ulf Jahnsson, vice-president of strategic development (primary production) at HKScan.


"At HKScan, we want to develop in all areas of the environment. Together with our contract farmers and ecosystem partners, we are currently examining best practices that we will scale across our markets. In our work, we proceed in accordance with the Science Based Targets initiative."


"Environmental reviews often focus on a specific area. A comprehensive examination of the farm's operations and production provides a more extensive view of the environmental impact," said Senja Arffman, senior adviser at Envitecpolis Oy, which calculated the carbon and water footprints in the primary production of Kariniemen chicken and assessed the impact of production on eutrophication and biodiversity.


"In this way, the development of the farm's operations and the reduction of the environmental footprint can be planned as a whole, assessing the significance of various measures through all these areas."


At the pilot farm, the carbon footprint of Kariniemen chicken was 2.33 CO2e per kilogramme of animal live weight. The result revealed a minor impact and was in line with Kariniemen's past carbon footprint results.


The AWARE method was used in calculating water footprint. The method takes into account the effects of water scarcity and geographical differences in water resources. Kariniemen chicken's AWARE water footprint was 0.397m3 per kilogramme of animal live weight.


The eutrophication study assessed the ability of crops to utilise the nutrients of fertilisation as effectively as possible. Nitrogen and phosphorus balances on the pilot farm turned out to be above average. Based on the results, nutrient utilisation was efficient in the farm's field farming, so the possibility of nutrient run-off is small.


"We continuously study and develop measures that allow us to reduce the environmental impact of meat production. For example, raising the yield level of a field reduces the carbon and water footprint of meat and increases the efficiency of nutrient use," said Heikki Aro, R&D manager at HKScan.


"We are doing this work in a very practical way together with our contract farmers and partners during the current growing season as well. We utilise, for example, Yara's satellite technology for fertilisation during the growing season. In this way, we can increase resource efficiency, optimise the crop's ability to use nutrients and at the same time, prevent eutrophication.


"We use the state-of-the-art technology of Vaisala and Datasense in the carbon flux measurement verifying carbon sequestration. During the last growing season, we managed to automate the measurements, and now, it is possible to monitor the results almost in real time."


- HKScan