Sustainability Digital White Paper - Food Nation

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SUSTAINABILITY

Solving global food challenges with solutions of tomorrow

Denmark is a global role model for sustainable food production and innovation.

In Denmark, we’re all about making the most efficient use of natural resources across the food value chain. Extensive collaboration – between businesses, authorities, universities and research institutes  – ensures we continue to improve.

Today, precision technology enables farmers to minimise their environmental footprint and maximise yield. Food processors constantly implement new measures to reduce their consumption of water, energy and single-use packaging. Retailers and restaurants work hard to reduce waste.

Collaborative efforts are also upgrading waste streams to valuable products.

In all of this, the UN Sustainable Development Goals are a strong guide.

     

An efficient and sustainable food sector will directly or indirectly contribute to all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. But there are some goals where the Danish food and agriculture sector can make a particular impact…

 

Goal 2
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Goal 12
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Goal 13
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 17
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

TARGETING GLOBAL NEEDS THROUGH CROSS-SECTOR INNOVATION

Danish farmers and food processors have a strong track record for resource efficiency

Danish food production has gone up by almost a third since 1990 – along with a considerable decline in greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2019, leading agricultural organisations announced a joint vision to make Danish agriculture completely climate neutral by 2050. For some of the biggest food producers, the aim is to be climate neutral as early as 2030.

Source: DCE reports no. 270 and 273 (2017); DCE: Agriculture (http://envs.au.dk). UNFCCC: National Inventory Submissions 2016; Statistics Denmark national accounts; EIONET. Central Data Repository: A. National emission inventories (CLRTAP).

What can Danish technology contribute to the green transition of global agrifood systems?

Listen to this episode of the Food Nation podcast and hear what’s going on in the fields, where food production starts, and what’s happening in processing, where sustainable production practices are becoming a market differentiator.

Automation and digitalisation are taking us forward.

EFFICIENT AGRICULTURE WITH A SUSTAINABLE MINDSET

Generations of Danish farmers have protected their livelihood by taking good care of their livestock and natural surroundings. Today they are global role models for efficient farming.

Denmark’s farmers are known for being among the most climate-efficient in the world. Across the generations, they have made a virtue of maximising and recirculating resources.

Targeted breeding, optimised feed efficiency, improved plant varieties, better soil care, new wetlands and best practices for handling manure – the list of initiatives goes on.

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more food is produced in Denmark than Danes can consume

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reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2000

SUSTAINABLE FOOD PROCESSES ARE A PROACTIVE CHOICE

Wherever you look in the Danish food industry, efforts are underway to improve energy and water efficiency and explore new opportunities for sustainable food packaging.

Across the food industry, efficiency improvements have reduced total energy consumption by 20% since 2006. The availability of renewable energy has increased more than threefold over the same period.

The Danish Partnership for Resource and Water-Efficient Industrial Food Production (DRIP) has developed and tested solutions for reducing water use in food processing by up to 30%.

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Danish Crown’s energy savings when drying equipment

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water reuse is a game-changer for onshore fish farms

Reducing the carbon footprint of dairy farming is a top priority. This is why the global dairy cooperative Arla Foods offers a free climate check to its farmer owners.

The climate check helps farmers identify opportunities to optimise energy consumption, feed efficiency, manure handling and feed production – and often cut costs at the same time  Heat from fresh milk, for example, can be recycled to heat the farmhouse.

Many Arla farmers produce renewable electricity based on solar, wind or biogas. This and other initiatives have reduced the climate impact of milk production significantly over the years. In fact, since 1990, good farm management has saved the world from 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents a year – a 25% reduction.

Arla is also exploring how to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, where CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil. One joint project is establishing a method for measuring CO2 recapture on dairy farms.

 

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FIRM ROOTS IN THE CIRCULAR BIOECONOMY

The Danish food cluster is a circular bioeconomy frontrunner

– skilled in making the very best use of each part of a raw material and returning remaining nutrients to the soil as a natural fertiliser.

Cascade utilisation ensures components from production side-streams are extracted in order of value, from highest to lowest, before being turned into ingredients, medicine and dietary supplements.

THE CONSCIOUS CONSUMER'S PANTRY OF CHOICE

Consumers are demanding healthy, safe and high-quality food, produced with minimal environmental impact. The Danish food cluster is ready to deliver.

All over the world, consumers are focusing on food quality and safety, nutrition and wellbeing. Many seek a sustainable lifestyle where their purchasing choices and consumption habits make a real difference.

These interests are stimulating demand for organic products, plant-based meals and foods with a high content of protein, while locally grown, seasonal raw materials are drawing attention as opportunities to reduce food waste. Personalised nutrition for individual needs is also gaining traction.

The Danish food sector has already come a long way towards meeting these demands and becoming the pantry of choice for the conscious consumer. Food ingredient companies, for example, have developed innovative solutions for protein-rich, low-fat diets and natural food protection. Co-development efforts that combine the expertise of ingredient companies with the specialist knowhow of the pharma and medical industries have great further potential.

An organic world leader
It’s no coincidence that Denmark is the home of the world’s largest organic dairy company and Europe’s biggest organic meat company, exporting organic pork and beef all over the world. Denmark was the first country in the world to draw up regulations for organic production, the first to introduce national organic standards and the first to launch an organic label, which, today, is recognised by nearly all Danes. In addition to their success with organic dairy and meat products, Danish companies are widely recognised in the global market for organic eggs, grain and vegetables.

Consumer desire for more sustainable convenience foods is an important driver of organic food innovation. This is why Denmark’s organic retail market is the biggest in the world for per capita purchases. More than 2,900 professional kitchens have also taken the organic mindset on board and qualified for an official Organic Cuisine Label.