The Product Board Animal Feed (PDV) started at the beginning of 2009 at the request of its members (in particular Nevedi, LTO, OPNV and Vernof) with the project ‘Carbon Footprint Animal Nutrition', with the primary goal of obtaining an understanding of the greenhouse gas emissions of the animal feed chain. This insight then ought to result in more awareness of the greenhouse effects which are associated with the production and the feeding of animal feed to farm animals. It should also offer the sector an opportunity to explore potential improvement options.
The start consisted of a fact-finding study in which the then available knowledge of methods (e.g. about allocation, among other subjects) and data availability have been inventoried and evaluated and knowledge gaps have been identified. This study was carried out by BMA Blonk Milieu Advies and WUR/LEI. The final report (here) was presented to the PDV at the end of 2009.
At the request of the board of the PDV, broad support for a follow-up study was created in the first months of 2010 by means of meetings attended by all sectors of agriculture. The purpose of this follow-up study is to gather and generate the knowledge and the data that are required for the calculation of the Carbon Footprint for the animal feed chain.
Wide consensus has been reached in these meetings. This has been laid down in a position paper (here). Complete transparency is one of the requirements for all phases of the project.
The agricultural industry-wide consensus has then had the result that in addition to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, six product boards (Product Board Animal Feed, Product Board of Arable Products, Dairy Product Board, Product Board Livestock and Meat, Product Board Poultry and Eggs and the Product Board Margarine, Fats and Oils) were prepared to finance the follow-up study. The Dutch Agricultural and Horticultural Organisation (LTO) and the Dutch feed industry (Nevedi) have also signed a letter of intent that they will make tangible efforts on the basis of this project to reduce the climate footprint of animal nutrition and animal production.
This study (see here for the project plan) is being carried out by WUR and BMA, and was started recently.
In order to make the knowledge acquired useful in practice as well, a calculation model will be developed which interested parties can use to calculate the Carbon Footprint of the feed chain or of their link.
This vast study is guided and directed on behalf of the financiers by a wide steering group with representatives of the financiers, the principal branch organisations and a social organisation (see here for the composition). For the technical reconciliation a number of working parties will be created with technical experts from the agricultural industry-wide membership (for further information, see here).
The Carbon Footprint Animal Nutrition comprises the trajectory from the cultivation of vegetable products (grains and seeds, but also roughage) up to and including the conversion of feed into animal product. This means that the Carbon Footprint Animal Nutrition comprises the following links: cultivation of vegetable products, primary processors of these products, production of compound feeds and animal husbandry. Uniform protocols for methods are prepared for each of these links, which protocols also serve as a basis for the gathering of data. On the basis of this system delimitation the compound feed industry can calculate the carbon footprint of the compound feed supplied (in CO2 equivalents per kg of compound feed) and can also make a prognosis for Carbon Footprint for the animal product produced.
It is an explicit further goal to give the project an international dimension. The greater part of the Dutchtrade organisations participating in the project are affiliated through their European organisations with the Sustainable Consumption and Production Round Table. In that sense they share the aspiration of this ‘round table' for the European harmonisation of methods to calculate the impact on the environment including the one by greenhouse gases, caused by the (animal) nutrition chain. The Dutch (trade) organisations will inform the European organisations and take care of co-ordination.
In addition, direct contacts relating to the sustainability issue are also maintained with all kinds of (trade) organisations, the FAO and the WUR.
WUR also maintains intensive contacts with other scientific institutions and wishes to publish one or several studies in (peer reviewed) scientific journals together with these institutions.
The intention of this international co-ordination is that the project result, which consists of an unambiguous method per link in the feed chain, a database with data about a large number of feed materials and a calculation model, will have an international platform of support and that it will be used on a wide basis.
Carbon Footprint Animal Nutrition
The emission of greenhouse gases is one of the most discussed topics within the wider theme of Corporate Social Responsibility The Product Board Animal Feed launched in 2009 a project ‘Carbon Footprint Animal Nutrition’ into the emission of greenhouse gases associated with the production of animal feed and the conversion into animal products. After a fact-finding study in 2009, a large-scale follow-up project was started recently. This will be carried out by Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) and Blonk Milieu Advies (BMA) and is to be completed by the summer of 2011. Through this web page the Product Board Animal Feed wants to inform all interested parties about the developments relating to the Carbon Footprint project.
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