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The climate imprint on a Danish pig meat continues to decline

Danish Crown’s suppliers of pigs have reduced CO2 emissions by almost seven per cent on average since 2016, and their goal is to cut another four per cent by the end of 2022. This corresponds to the total carbon footprint from 12,000 Danish households.


The goals set for 2022 are above what we expected, and it shows that, in many aspects, agriculture is more far-sighted and adaptable than the outside world is aware of. -Nicolaj Nørgaard, Vice President, Danish Crown Owner Services.

Over the past year, Danish Crowns has climate-certified a share of the company’s owners, the Danish Farmers, corresponding to approximately 90 percent of the pigs delivered to the Group’s Danish abattoirs. Data has been collected on everything from feed to power consumption to slurry handling by the company’s owners and on average they already now have reduced the CO2 load by 6.7 percent since 2016.

- Our owners and Baltic Control have done a fantastic job of forming an overview of the environmental impact of each farmer. At the same time, I am really pleased that our owners have a total goal of reducing their climate footprint by an additional 4.1 percentage points before being re-visited by Baltic Control in 2022, says Nicolaj Nørgaard, Vice President, Danish Crown Owner Services.

Danish Crown’s owners have been measured against a CO2 emission equivalent norm based on figures from 2016, which shows that a pig from birth to slaughter emits 239 kg. CO2. The preliminary estimates show that pigs from the owners’ stables today emit 6.7 per cent less CO2 than the norm, or the equivalent of 223 kg. CO2.

The right direction

One of the owners that has been certified is Lars Ejner Larsen on Funen. He delivers 22,000 pigs to Danish Crown’s abattoirs every year, and his certification shows that so far his pigs in average emits 213 kg. CO2. He is pleased that he now knows an estimate of his climate figures and developments.

- Agriculture has moved a lot and it is positive to see that we continue to move in the right direction, he says.

At his farm, he sends his slurry to biogas - along with frequent slurry leaching, it reduces the climate footprint. However, he expects to get even better. The goal for 2022 is therefore to cut it down to an emission of climate gasses of 180 kg. CO2 per pig.

- The goal of halving the emission is not unrealistic on my farm. My efficiency in both barn and field is expected to improve further by 2030 and there will also be additional environmental technologies that will contribute. Therefore, it is good that we have been able to do this in concrete terms and set a goal, says Lars Ejner Larsen.

110,250 tons

If the owners reach the goals, they have set for the next three years, it equates to a reduction of 26.5 kg. CO2 per pig compared to the norm from 2016. When increased with Danish Crown’s current slaughter figures, it gives a total saving for primary production of 110,250 tonnes of CO2 over the next three years or 100 tonnes of CO2 every single day.

- I would like to commend our owners for the level of ambition. The goals set for 2022 are above what we expected, and it shows that, in many aspects, agriculture is more far-sighted and adaptable than the outside world is aware of. It is a strong signal to carry on and it shows that our goal of achieving a 50 per cent reduction in 2030 is certainly realistic, says Nicolaj Nørgaard.

If the farmers’ own targets for 2022 are met, the total CO2 reduction of Danish Crown’s owners will be very close to 30 per cent compared to 2005. In addition, the reduction of CO2 emissions achieved at Danish Crown’s abattoirs will be added, but those are yet to be calculated.

While Danish Crown calculates CO2 reduction in relation to emissions in 2005, the Danish Government’s CO2 reduction targets are calculated on the basis of 1990. Therefore, the figures are not directly comparable at present.

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