Skretting flags increased transparency in latest sustainability report

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/pcess609
© GettyImages/pcess609

Related tags Skretting scope 3 emissions Nutreco

Skretting says its sustainability report 2022 shows an unparalleled level of openness compared to previous years.

The publication​ looks to provide a comprehensive breakdown of the company's scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, to give stakeholders a greater understanding of Skretting’s climate impact throughout its entire value chain.

Jorge Diaz, Skretting global sustainability manager, told us: “This is our most transparent report so far, especially when it comes to emissions; we are reporting, for the first time, our scope 3 emissions both per ton of feed produced, but absolute emissions also.”

Collaboration with suppliers 

With 96% of the company’s feed’s total emissions coming from scope 3 ingredients and factors beyond its control, reducing them will require close collaboration with suppliers.

Job van Mil joined the procurement team last year, taking on the role of supplier sustainability manager, to facilitate this collaboration. “He will ensure that we are fully connected with our suppliers to understand and to mitigate all the environmental and social risks in the supply chain. And he is also heavily involved in securing the right data, the primary data, that we need to calculate our footprint, and for understanding the full impact [of the business].”

By disclosing scope 1-3 absolute emissions in line with its early adoption of Science-Based Targets back in 2020, the company said it is aiming to create a benchmark for accountability and inspire other companies within the aquaculture sector to follow suit.

Skretting, which is Nutreco's aqua feed arm, saw a 5% reduction on carbon footprint per ton of feed globally, compared to a 2018 baseline, but absolute emissions are increasing. “These are not going in the right direction, but it is important for us to be transparent and explain why that is the case,” commented Diaz.

Scope 1 and 2 emissions increased in 2022 when compared to 2021. The producer acknowledges that there is no simple and single solution for this problem, and it has started several initiatives company-wide to tackle those emissions.

One of the approaches it is championing to lower Scope 1 emissions is upgrading its boilers, so that they operate with the less polluting fuel sources, along with optimization of dryers and reducing steam usage.

For Scope 2 reduction, the feed manufacturer said it is developing a cost beneficial plan for de-carbonization of electricity considering different alternatives like on-site power purchase agreements (PPAs), off-site PPAs and buying energy attribute certificates (EACs) where other alternatives are not feasible. “For us, the most important thing is that every factory has an energy target, measurement of energy consumption of the main users, to use data to better understand energy flows and make decisions about energy use.”

Scope 3 emissions

Looking at the scope 3 split by region and business unit, the company sees that a high contributor to such emissions is its business in Latin America (about 35%), which has seen strong growth since 2018, its reporting baseline.

Further growth is linked to higher levels of raw material purchasing, and such procurement directly impacts scope 3 emissions, said Marcel Görmer, technical lead, sustainability metrics, Nutreco.

With business expansion, there is almost always an increase in the scope 3 carbon footprint, so reduction efforts need to be even stronger in order to achieve any success at the company level in absolute terms. And those efforts need to be collaborative, involving multiple stakeholders, explained Görmer.

Looking at the company’s scope 3 footprint from an ingredient perspective, most of it is linked to plant-derived ingredients. This is mainly due to land management practices for growing the crops on the fields but also due to land use change that happened up to 20 years ago.

If a business can eliminate the land use change element of its carbon footprint, then it can achieve scope 3 emissions quite readily, explained Görmer.

Nevertheless, other factors play a role too, for example energy use for processing the crops into feed ingredients. Depending on which raw material the company is looking at, the carbon footprint drivers behind can be quite different.

In order to make progress in its scope 3 reduction, it will be critical to identify low risk sourcing regions, buy certified raw materials, or switch to inputs with a lower carbon footprint, as well as trying to gather as much primary data as possible, stressed Görmer. Primary data comes directly from the supplier and is specific to them, to their ingredient manufacturing model, for example, he said.

Life cycle assessment 

In 2021, Nutreco defined its internal footprint database, which maps all its purchased ingredients with quality assured life cycle assessment (LCA) metrics, aligned with leading LCA standards. The database covers seven different environmental impact categories that are the most relevant for feed products, including the carbon footprint, but also other metrics like water footprint or land use indicators. In 2022, the focus was on connecting this database to different internal data systems.

A significant milestone reached in 2022 was the finalization of its scope 3 carbon footprint dashboard. This enables it to calculate and track its footprint, while also providing valuable insights into the regions in which it is operating, and which of its local operations, ingredients, and suppliers contribute the most to its corporate carbon footprint.  

The company now has a supplier relationship management tool, one that it has adapted to its LCA reporting needs. How to optimize IT, to ensure digitalization, and automation of data flows remains a big focus, with the team actively working on the best way to visualize scope 3 data.

Marine ingredients

Skretting is also updating the market on its use of marine ingredients in feed, through the Ocean Disclosure project.

“We used to do this only for our Norwegian operations. But now we are doing it globally,” said Diaz.

Antibiotic usage

In addition, the report outlines, for the first time, where and when Skretting applies antibiotics, their percentage make up in feed, per operating company, and the reasons why they are used.

The company said it could stop producing feed containing antibiotics, but by doing so it risks pushing antibiotic application further down the production chain, for example farmers applying medication to the feed on-farm. These methods can pose a much greater challenge in combatting antimicrobial resistance, it noted. When it applies antibiotics in its facilities, it does it in a safe and controlled environment where its workers are protected, the final dose is measured, and the production is done with high quality standards.

In 2022, Skretting recorded a decrease to the amount of medicated feed with antibiotics and medicated feed containing CIA as percentage of its total feed sales compared to 2021. Across its global business, less than 2,000 kg of critically important antibiotics (CIA) were prescribed and added to feed, representing a 28% reduction. For other antibiotics, the inclusion of active ingredients was reduced by 35%, it reported.

The wider perspective

Furthermore, the publication includes feedback from customers, suppliers, certification bodies and other partners on what is their vision of sustainability, including reflections on different realities per region and species.

“Reaching our targets is not something that we can do alone, and we need collaboration across the entire value chain,” said Diaz on the rationale for including that wider perspective in the report.

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