Data key for animal protein’s Net Zero​ journey

The Dutch multinational recently launched a platform designed to reduce livestock emissions through feed, which it says helps improve poultry, swine, and ruminant operations.

Speaking at FoodNavigator’s recent Climate Smart Food event, Dr David Nickell David Nickell, VP of Sustainability, Animal Nutrition and Health at DSM, said the drive for sustainable animal protein requires accurate footprint measurement.

Data, he explained, is the key to unlocking market opportunities as the animal protein industry looks to transform itself to more sustainable practices.

Nutrition is at the forefront of the shift, he said. About 50-60% of production costs of animal protein is related to feed, while up to 80% of the environmental footprint of animal production is related to nutrition – based on the crops that go into the feed, how this utilised by the animal and the resulting manure. “This requires accurate and credible measurement. If we are to meet emission reduction plans,”​he stressed.

The footprint of animal protein meanwhile has many dimensions, from carbon emissions, phosphorus and nitrogen, water and land use. Reducing the footprint of animal production is extremely challenging and complex. “Farming is highly nuanced and it has a huge variety and levels of impact,”Nickell noted.

Accurate and credible data is needed as investors and governments push for sustainability value across the value chain. Also accelerating it are consumers. A growing number of consumers have a willingness to pay for sustainable foods, with retailers and CPG companies actively addressing this demand. This is giving rise to eco-labels based on full LCA footprint to help consumers make informed choices.


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