[Download PDF, 468 KB] Muenster, 1 February 2010
The internationally active producer and marketer of meat products from Westphalia/Germany has been the first company to determine a “Corporate Carbon Footprint” and, deriving from that, a “Product Carbon Footprint” for the production of pork covering the entire process chain / Comprehensive sustainability report will follow midyear
Prospectively customers will be able to find out how much CO2 has been generated until a cutlet or a bratwurst ends up in the shopping basket. In times of climate change this indicator more and more sparks the interest of well-informed consumers and is part of the selection criteria for an increasing number of products.
For Westfleisch, no.-3-marketer of meat products in Germany, sustainability is not a buzzword but a general corporate principle which is put into practice as a result of the responsibility towards the environment, society, customers and employees. For a long time by now the company, which keeps its cooperative structure since 1928, has been committed to meet the requirements of sustainability, for example by keeping the SGS-certified “Westfleisch Partnership for Quality” in which, besides checkable quality standards, environmental and animal protection as well as social aspects, minimum wages for instance, are agreed with business partners.
Moreover, on Friday, January 29th, Westfleisch became the first meat marketer to complete a systematic CO2 balance, the so-called carbon footprint, for the complete production of pork as a part of a comprehensive sustainability report coming up midyear.
Greenhouse gas emissions during the production of pork ranging from breeding of the piglets to fattening the slaughter pigs and selling the meat are recorded and analysed in a conceivable and checkable way. The five meat plants of the company but especially the Westphalian farmers with their domestic animal feed production and their pig breeding were analysed.
The basis of this comprehensive CO2 balance is the DIN ISO 14040 which determines how the systematic analysis of environmental impacts of closed production processes has to be carried out. The collection of the data covers the entire life cycle process of a product. For setting up the eco-balance, Westfleisch secured the expertise of the BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, which has a wealth of experience, and issued totally more than 400 eco-efficiency analyses.
Westfleisch could also draw upon the opinion of experts of the Chamber of Agriculture of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as the AGRAVIS AG, Münster, as a producer of feedingstuff the two of which contributed extensive data allowing the evaluation of the production of pork with regard to the constitution and purchase of forage, but also production data concerning farmers’ breeding and fattening of the pigs.
One had to differentiate between direct emissions of the own plants (the so-called “Scope 1”) and the indirect emissions (“Scopes 2 and 3”) resulting from upstream and downstream sectors like pig fattening or meat processing, the transport to the retail customers or the disposal of normal refuse as well as waste and packaging materials.
With the help of more than 50 different evaluation sheets Westfleisch collected more than 25,000 data sets from its plants and processing subsidiaries. The data sets were then classified by using existing databases and subsequently entered into calculation models of the eco-efficiency analysis group of the BASF SE. In mid-January the elaborated result was recognised by the respected SGS and has thus been considered as “third party audited” in the eco-balance ever since.
The carbon footprints show that Westfleisch emits 1.83 million tons of CO2 equivalents in the production of pork per year. The percentage of the pig production, that is breeding and fattening, reflects the decisive influence of the agricultural production in comparison with the production steps in slaughter and meat cutting plants.
Westfleisch’s product carbon footprint per kilogram of pork processed is 3.2 kilograms CO2 equivalent.
In comparison with other products it becomes obvious that the impact the production of 1 kilogram of pork by Westfleisch has on the environment is roughly comparable with the consumption of 40 cups of coffee, 35 hours of television (medium screen size) or a 20-kilometre drive with a medium-sized car. This is possibly making the trip of the consumer – whether by car or for example by bike – over a distance of more than 10 kilometres to the nearest-by supermarket with a well-assorted range of fresh meat to get a portion of meat for a multi-member family the most important behavioural decision.
For Westfleisch the carbon footprint is a fundamental part of a comprehensive sustainability report in accordance with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). That way the status quo and deficits but also improvements regarding environmental protection, social standards and social responsibility are documented. The analysis also shows that power and natural gas consumption, for instance, can be further reduced, that slaughterhouse waste can be used in a better way or that the packaging material can be further optimised. Westfleisch aims to continue the optimisation of the emissions of farms through the quality partnership with farmers.
“Our goal is to provide a standardised and clear presentation of the economic, ecological, social and corporate performance of Westfleisch for our customers and for retailers”, Dr. Helfried Giesen, CEO of the Westfleisch eG, had already announced at the ANUGA exhibition last autumn. This is a first big step forward.
As part of the annual report 2009 of the Westfleisch-group a comprehensive sustainability report will be published in the middle of 2010. Its consequences will quite sure be the focus in many discussions and dialogues with the retail customers.
“Meat should be part of a healthy, balanced diet”, the German Federal Minister for Consumers, Ilse Aigner, said during the Green Week in Berlin in January 2010. Thus, Westfleisch wants to make an argumentative contribution in the current debate on climate change.