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Climate footprint

Polarfeed produces fish feed with a 37 percent lower climate footprint than the average fish feed in Norway.

Businesses relationship with their own climate footprint has rightly received an increased focus in recent years, largely driven by demands from environmentally conscious consumers. When Ola and Kari Nordmann buy salmon in the store, they want to know that it was produced with an acceptable climate footprint, and that active work is being done to further reduce this. Demands that goes from consumer to distributor to fish farming company, and in the end to their feed suppliers. We then make demands to our raw material suppliers.

Unfortunately, it is currently almost impossible to provide a complete and comprehensive climate account within feed production. This because the supply chain has a lack of systems to capture all climate costs linked to each individual batch of raw material. Polarfeed works with subcontractors to continuously improve these systems.By making use of the best available knowledge, we can still say a lot about the climate footprint of our own production, and about the footprint of the industry as a whole.

The Global Feed LCA Institute (GFLI)  has prepared a supplementary list of feed raw materials and their respective climate footprint. As a feed producer, this gives us the opportunity to assess raw materials not only based on nutritional quality and price, but also to steer our own production in a more climate-friendly direction on the raw material side.

Based on the overview from GFLI, we have looked at the footprint of the overall consumption of feed raw materials in Norway in 2020, as it appears in a fresh Nofima report. In the absence of detailed documentation on the country of origin for all the raw materials, we have made some choices in our calculation based on the best available knowledge. For example, we know the amount of soy protein concentrate used in Norwegian fish feed in 2020, but not the country of origin. In the calculation, we have assumed that everything is Brazilian soya, as it is known that Brazil is the main supplier of this raw material.

With these chosen assumptions, the average climate footprint for one kilogram of Norwegian fish feed is 2.8 kg CO2 equivalents.

If we add up Polarfeed's own consumption of raw materials last year, and apply the same assumptions, this shows that our own climate footprint is 1.76 kg CO2 equivalents, i.e. a full 37 per cent lower than the average feed.

This is essentially due to the fact that Polarfeed recipes include far lower levels of soya, which has the raw material with the highest negative impact on climate footprint.

If we do not use the same assumptions as in the comparison with the rest of the industry but start from our purely actual consumption of various raw materials in 2021, including LUC and transport costs, the result is even better. It shows a climate footprint of 1.68 CO2 equivalents per kilogram of feed produced.

Research and development

Reducing the climate footprint is one of the main goals in Polarfeed's raw material research and development projects. We want to develop climate-friendly raw materials that both in terms of pricing and nutrition can make us less dependent on problematic raw materials such as Brazilian soy, and at the same time provide the opportunity to reduce the use of fishmeal and fish oil - which is a limited resource - without negatively impacting fish health, growth and slaughter quality. Not least, it is important for us to develop raw materials that can really thrive in terms of availability and volume. Unfortunately, this is to a small extent the case for many of the development projects within new feed raw materials that have been discussed in recent years.

That is why we are currently collaborating with the American company Green Plains, on the development of a new protein raw material based on corn. The protein source comes in the form of residual raw material from the production of biofuel. The raw material excellent nutritional qualities, a very low climate footprint and will quickly be available in large volumes. Ongoing feed trials will determine how quickly the raw material can be used.

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