Footprint reduction

Target setting & action plan

Reducing your greenhouse gas emissions

Climate change is one of the most urgent challenges of our time, and society is looking for ways to define the contours of a sustainable world.

More and more companies are setting targets to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to their own activities and their value chain. Over 3.500 companies committed to GHG reduction targets aligned with the Paris Agreement within Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). Currently, this is causing a strong pull for (footprint) data in the supply chain, requiring suppliers to set-up carbon footprint management and develop decarbonization pathways.

To develop a GHG value chain emission reduction target and action plan, a thorough understanding of key drivers and leverage points in the value chain is necessary. Typically for actors in the food production value chain, primary agro production is one of the most important contributors to their value chain footprint. Blonk has years of experience in footprint analysis of the agri-food value chain and understands the variability, can identify hot-spots and drivers for change. We performed multiple footprint analyses for solution providers in cultivation, feed (additive) production, animal farm, plant-based products, food production and retail, gaining insights in footprint reduction potential through innovation. This creates a continuously growing database of solutions which can be implemented by organizations who want to reduce their value chain emission.

How we can help you

Reduce your (value chain) footprint

We help you with your organization GHG target & action plan in line with the standards and guidelines

Footprint reduction solution provider

We help you analysing the environmental benefit of your solution

Reduce your (value chain) footprint

As the leading consultancy agency for quantifying sustainability in the agri-food sector, Blonk can help your organization set the (SBTi) targets and reduce your GHG value chain emissions. We can help you with every step in this process:

  1. GHG emission inventory
  2. Identify GHG reduction potential
  3. Develop reduction targets & decarbonization pathways
  4. Set-up carbon footprint monitoring & engage suppliers
GHG emission scope 1, 2 and 3 inventory

The first step in GHG target setting and emission reduction is an inventory of current GHG emission through the entire value chain. The international GHG protocol has been designed to support this inventory of emissions and distinguishes between scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Scope 1 and 2 emissions are the direct emissions arising from your organization's activities, such as fuel combustion, transport vehicles, and purchased energy. Gathering data for these emissions is relatively straightforward. It is more difficult to compile an inventory of scope 3 emissions because this requires data from other actors in the supply chain.

For most companies in the agri-food sector, scope 3 emissions significantly contribute to their environmental impact.

The first time you perform your scope 3 GHG inventory, you can use default data from a database (for example production of your ingredients) as primary data from supplier will probably not be available yet. This kind of scope 3 scan is more efficient and less detailed to a full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or GHG protocol compliant report. A fully ISO compliant Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or GHG protocol compliant report requires more extensive data collection, modelling, and reporting.

Identify GHG reduction & removal potential

Before setting a reduction target, it is necessary to understand how different activities in your value chain contribute to the total footprint. GHG emissions on farm level are among the environmental hotspots of food production. Nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer application, methane emissions from rice cultivation and enteric fermentation significantly contribute to the overall scope 3 GHG emissions. Emissions of Land-use-change (LUC) can be very relevant, especially for regions where deforestation is an issue.

However, gathering all the necessary data can be challenging because you need to investigate the supply chain thoroughly. Moreover, actual farm emission data is not available. Modelling these emissions is needed, adhering to the state-of-the-art standards, such as the GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance or Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) rules. 

Blonk has more than 20 years of experience quantifying emissions in agri-food value chains. We understand the key drivers for GHG emissions and can identify leverage points for system interventions to reduce GHG emissions. An internal database with solutions providers is available to identify potential reduction measures.

Also, potential impact of carbon removals can be identified. Regenerative agriculture practices can, for example, sequester carbon in soils. We follow ongoing developments in the definition of an internationally accepted methodology for quantification and accounting of carbon removals. We make a complete inventory of GHG reduction measurements (see figure 2. Example reduction plan for meat products).

Develop reduction plan & decarbonization pathways

When assessing reduction measures, we also assess other important factors for implementation in your business model as investments, operation costs, availability, scalability, and methodology robustness. We can also assess the impact on other environmental impacts like land occupation, water consumption, eutrophication, and fine particulate matter formation or biodiversity to make sure environmental trade-offs can be identified.

Based on this assessment, short-, medium- and long-term actions can be categorized. Together with the client we develop decarbonization pathways aligned with the (SBTi) requirements. Within the SBTi framework, companies in the food production value chain need to set targets for FLAG and non-FLAG emissions. Forest, Land, and Agriculture (FLAG) related emissions includes GHG emission form cultivation and animal husbandry, CO2 emissions associated with land use change (LUC) and emissions from land management.

Depending on your ambition, we can develop near-term targets (<10 years) in line with SBTi and long-term net-zero targets.

We will give recommendations for actions that can be taken now, and we can connect you with our industry partners who offer those carbon footprint solutions.  

Set-up carbon footprint monitoring & engage suppliers

To track your emissions over time and monitor progress, it is necessary to manage your GHG emission data. When setting up your first scope 3 inventory, probably a lot of upstream footprint data will be based on default databases (like Agri-footprint). In the end you will need improved footprint data from your supply chain to be able to monitor progress (within the SBTi framework, it is permitted to first engage your suppliers before setting a concrete scope 3 target). Blonk can assist you in this data collection process. We offer tools, consultancy support and capacity building to facilitate this process, safeguarding a consistent approach for data collection and footprint modelling with your suppliers.

Science Based Targets initiative

The Science Based Targets initiative is a collaboration between the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Science-based targets offer companies a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their GHG emissions. Targets adopted by companies to reduce GHG emissions are deemed science-based if they are in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. According to this agreement, global warming should not exceed 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and all stakeholders should make an effort to limit warming to no more than 1.5°C.

Forest, Land and Agricultural (FLAG) Science Based Target Setting Guidance

For some industries, separate sector-specific methodologies, frameworks, and requirements have been developed by SBTi. Also, for companies in the agrifood sector SBTi is currently developing a guidance. Almost 25% of global GHG emissions can be attributed to agricultural, forestry and other land use practices. In September 2022 the Forest, Land and Agricultural (FLAG) Science Based Target Setting Guidance has been published. This guidance provides a standard method, including land-related emissions and removals, in line with the Paris Agreement. For meat products and commodities like soy, wheat and palm oil, specific reduction targets for 2030 have been set.

20+ years of experience in quantifying emissions

Blonk has more than 20 years of experience quantifying emissions in agri-food value chains. We developed Agri-footprint, the leading database for high-quality environmental footprint data of agri-food products. Also, we developed a European Farm to Fork database containing the environmental impact of more than 160 consumer food products, such as cheese, sauces, instant coffee, fruits, chocolate, pasta, ready-to-eat soups, and prepared salad mixes. We have an in-house software tool development team that can collect data and develop environmental footprinting tools.

Blonk helped an array of companies set up their scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon footprint inventory and reduction plan or assisted in their SBTi application. We are happy to help you analyze your scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, set up your sustainability targets, and develop supplier engagement programs together.

 

Footprint reduction solution provider

As a solution provider, you understand the urgency of climate change and offer solutions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the agri-food sector. Whether the solutions apply to cultivation, animal husbandry, transport, retail or any other stage in the agri-food value chain, we can help to quantify the environmental impact of your solutions.

Impact assessment of solution

In the assessment of GHG savings related to your solution, we will quantify all expected changes of the application of your solution according to a ‘consequential’ Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This is a system modelling approach in which we identify all relevant changes in a production system.

We consider emissions related to the production of the solution (for example, raw materials and energy required to produce a dairy feed additive) and emission reduction related to the implementation of the solution (for example, reduced enteric methane emissions from the use of a dairy feed additive). The latter is done by comparing a baseline, or current scenario, with the situation where the solution is implemented.

In the solution impact assessment, an approach will be taken which is tailored to the available data and type of solution. We include other relevant environmental impact indicators for food production, like land occupation and water consumption, to identify environmental trade-offs. In general, the main project steps would be the following:

  1. Gather and assess data on production and use of the solution; required materials, energy and emissions related to each lifecycle stage (e.g., extraction of raw materials, production, use and end-of-life).
  2. Determine characteristics of baseline scenario and scenario of change in which solution is implemented. This is a very important step to substantiate any environmental claim. this is preferably based on measurements or trials but can also be retrieved from literature or (third party) expert judgement.
  3. Calculate emissions related to production and use of the solution. This is done by linking emission factors from background databases (such as Agri-footprint) and emission calculation to the materials, energy, other inputs and emissions related to each lifecycle stage.
  4. Calculate emission reduction related to the use of the solution, by comparing emissions in baseline scenario and solution-scenario.

Connection to parties reducing their footprint

Reducing GHG emissions for individual farms, producers, retailers or other parties in the value chain, is not a ‘one size fits all’ operation: the effectiveness and suitability of solutions depend on the specific context. For this reason, we offer tailored advice to companies that aim to reduce their GHG emissions. Once the impact of your solution(s) has been quantified, we can include your product in our portfolio of emission reduction solutions, which could be applied in organizations that want to reduce emissions in their value chain.

Why quantify the solutions effectiveness?

Investigating the impact of your solution has many advantages. It is an opportunity to gain more insights about your solution, identify improvement areas and increase market value.

Some specific examples:

Increase market value
You want to increase market value by communication about the exact emission savings related to the implementation of your solution.

Insights in saving options
Insight in the current emissions and emission reductions related to your solution can help to make the solution even more effective. For example, through saving materials and energy in production.

Insights in the environmental impact
Your clients or investors want insights in the environmental impact of your products or production process.

Development of innovations
You want to know the environmental advantages of certain innovation ideas.

case study

Carbon footprint of Nature's Pride

Blonk carried out a CO2 baseline measurement (carbon footprint) for Nature’s Pride, a company based in the Netherlands. Nature’s Pride supplies 230 different fruit and vegetable products from 59 countries, such as avocados, berries, ginger and papayas. One of their aims is to make the world healthier and more sustainable. In pursuit of this aim the company runs various projects on packaging and reducing food losses and also supports projects to improve living conditions in communities where they source their products. The results of our baseline study will help Nature’s Pride to understand how they can best reduce their CO2 emissions and set goals to achieve this.

More information

Janjoris van Diepen
Senior Consultant | Blonk Consultants

Please get in touch with Janjoris if you would like to learn more about how we can help you analyze your scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, set up your sustainability targets, and develop supplier engagement programs.