1 Jul 2021

APS-footprint update

Pathways to reducing the environmental impact of animal production systems

We are delighted to share the latest APS-footprint developments with you. This time we'd like to give you an update about the recent launch of Sustell™ together with DSM, the release of a methodological study we performed on feed additives and LCA and the addition of the Annual Crop Module, which is a new features of the APS-footprint tool. And at last, we are very happy to introduce to you another team member of our amazing APS-footprint team!

APS-footprint as core engine for Sustell™ – an intelligent sustainability service by DSM and Blonk

In May DSM launched Sustell™, an intelligent sustainability service for enhancing the environmental sustainability of animal protein production. It is a full service built around our APS-footprint tool, ensuring independent, science-based and data-driven results. Furthermore, by building on APS-footprint it assures compliancy to internationally recognized environmental calculation guidelines and access to credible and sound data(bases). Part of the Sustell™ service is the ‘Expert Center’ made up of a team of DSM and Blonk experts in LCA, animal nutrition and sustainability.

Partnering with clients, Sustell™ aims to unlock the value of sustainability by providing clients tailor-made, practical solutions and business development projects. At Blonk, we are proud in making this service possible, and contributing with our APS-footprint tool and expertise!

“We are excited to be launching Sustell™ alongside DSM – a truly intelligent sustainability service that is front and center to our mission at Blonk – to support organizations in addressing the challenge of making the global production and consumption of food more sustainable.”
Hans Blonk, CEO Blonk Consultants & Blonk Sustainability Tools

Methodological study: the applicability of LCA guidelines to model the effects of feed additives on the environmental footprint of animal production

Robust assessment of the environmental footprint of animal products is essential to support and monitor efforts to reduce both the emissions intensity and resource demands associated with their production. Feed additives have the potential to confer environmental benefits in their use to support animal productivity, animal health, lifetime performance or even direct environmental benefits. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership established various harmonized methods to assess the environmental footprint of livestock. This includes specific guidelines applicable to feed additives.

Together with DSM we set up a methodological study, by way of road testing, to explore the applicability of sector Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) guidelines, such as FAO LEAP and European Commission Product Environmental Footprint (EC PEF). In APS-footprint we modeled the nutritional interventions, specifically the use of feed additives, and explored the effects. The study was externally reviewed by experts, according to the ISO 14044 LCA guidelines.

Live now: APS-footprint Annual Crops Module

The Blonk Sustainability Tools developers have finished the implementation of new functionality in the APS-footprint tool: the Annual Crops Module. Now being live, this module allows users to simulate on-farm cultivation of annual crops. These crops can then be used as single ingredients complementing the ration of the animals, with the first main focus on annual arable products for poultry and pig feed. For example, imagine a pig farmer cultivating corn on his own farmland, and feeding this corn directly to his pigs. In this situation, with the new Annual Crops module it is possible to take into account the specifics of the used cultivation methods. This way, this specific cultivation output will be used in the environmental impact calculation of the total farming system - and thus the output per kg pork. It includes the option of specifying a main and co-product, where only the environmental impact of the main product, that is fed to the animal, is used in the overall assessment.

In summary, with this new module, APS-footprint is able to give you an even more accurate result on the environmental performance of an animal production system.

APS-footprint behind the scenes - Meet the team

We’d love to give you a look behind the scenes of the APS-footprint developments and introduce our dedicated team to you. This time we give the floor to Paulina Gual Rojas.

Paulina Gual Rojas is Senior consultant at Blonk Consultants and has been working at Blonk since 2017. As client project coordinator for Sustell™ she is directly working with customers, implementing the APS-footprint tool to improve sustainability performance of actors in the animal production value chain.

How do you work with the APS-footprint tool? What do you use it for?
Recently, DSM launched Sustell™, a sustainability intelligence platform and service. The APS-footprint tool is the core engine behind this platform. Blonk supports DSM with the development and implementation of Sustell™. It is an intelligent sustainability service that combines the most advanced environmental footprinting calculation tool, our very own APS-footprint tool, with expertise in sustainability, animal production and nutritional knowledge to create tailor-made, practical solutions and business development projects that enhance the environmental sustainability and profitability of animal farming.
I am the client project coordinator for Sustell™. I use the APS-footprint tool to help DSM clients calculate the environmental impact related to animal farming and identify possibilities of reduction to improve their environmental performance and add value to their operation. The APS-footprint tool sets clear data requirements and handles Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) calculations. We put our client’s data and particular farm situation directly into the tool and based on this create personalized advice for potential impact reduction. We then model these reduction strategies in the APS-footprint engine, to help clients investigate the best strategies to reduce their environmental footprint and make steps towards a more sustainable world.

What do you see as the biggest strength of APS-footprint?
I see two relevant strengths of the tool, which I believe bring great value to our customers and help us as consultants. First, the ability to choose the LCA calculation standard to be used. Global customers require different calculation standards and/or wish to report on different environmental metrics. The potential of APS-footprint tool to select between LCA calculation standards, increases the scope and possibilities to help customers in different regions and different animal production systems. The second is the possibility to define “interventions”, which is basically simulating different possible scenarios in which our clients can reduce their environmental impact from animal farming and quantify the potential sustainability benefit of their choices.

How do you think a partnership project with Blonk Sustainability Tools (BST) around the APS-footprint tool can benefit companies? What does it potentially bring them?
There is a huge potential for companies in the animal production supply chain to reduce emissions from their farm operations. However, this potential is often left untapped because many companies do not have the possibility or capacity to easily measure and monitor these emissions.

Partnering with BST and use of the APS-footprint tool greatly reduce the hurdles for companies to calculate and monitor the environmental footprint of their activities and assess possibilities to improve their sustainability performance. This is because the APS-footprint tool supports companies with data management and guides data collection, uses the most up to date methodological standards to calculate full LCA environmental impacts at farm level (including upstream impacts related to feed production). On top of that, it provides results in a matter of seconds.

As companies can rely on the APS-footprint tool to take care of the calculations, they can focus on setting reduction targets, use the generated information for communication purposes and increase the value to their operations, and not least, create positive change.

More questions for Paulina?

She is happy to hear from you.