June 25, 2020


HKScan's Finnish beef carbon footprint 35% lower than in Europe



Variable valve timing (VVT)calculation have shown that the carbon footprint of HKScan's Finnish HK Ehta beef is 8.2kg CO2e per kilo of animal's live weight, the food company said.


The European average carbon footprint of beef is 12.6kg CO2e per kilo of live weight, so in terms of climate, the Finnish beef is clearly a better choice, HKScan stated.


"Thanks to the carbon footprint calculation, we know the major emission sources of beef production and continue our work to reduce climate impacts," the company said.


VTT specialists calculated the carbon footprint of HKScan's Finnish beef from the field to the plant gate based on the data provided by four Finnish HK Ehta contract farmers. The calculation is based on international IPCC guidelines and ISO standardised life cycle assessment.


On a European scale, the carbon footprint of Finnish HK Ehta beef is small. HKScan noted that it continues its work to reduce the climate impact of meat production together with its farmers.


"Sustainably produced Finnish meat tastes good and can be eaten with a clear conscience. In shops and in restaurants, choosing the Finnish alternative is always worth it," said Mikko Järvinen, vice president (red meat business) at HKScan Finland.


Improving the carbon sequestration of fields reduces the carbon footprint of beef HKScan has worked closely with contract farmers for over a hundred years. Internationally small carbon footprint of HKScan's Finnish HK Ehta beef is an indication of long-term work for the environment.


The carbon footprint includes the climate impacts related to the animal and farming, such as feed, manure system, energy, litter, digestion and transportation. In beef production, the most significant emissions are caused by feed and digestion of cattle, totalling about 70% of carbon footprints. Finnish cattle mainly consume grass feed, which reduces the climate impacts of meat.


"Our goal is carbon-neutral meat production. To achieve this goal, we need to have a thorough understanding of the environmental impact of meat production, and only then, we will be able to systematically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Calculating the carbon footprint is a complex process, in which we succeeded together with VTT and our contract farmers," said Ulf Jahnsson, HKScan's vice president of strategic development (primary production).


In the Agrofood Ecosystem® model developed by HKScan, the sustainability of meat production is further developed with the help of the latest research data and data collected from pilot farms. Agrofood Ecosystem increases the transparency of food production and provides tools to reduce environmental impacts and improve productivity, HKScan explained.


"This summer, we are exploring the ability of grass to bind carbon in order to better understand the positive environmental impacts of agriculture.  Improving the carbon-sequestration and productivity of fields are ways to reduce the carbon footprint of beef," said Jahnsson.


- HKScan