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Low-carbon roadmap for the Finnish food industry
The Finnish food industry generates relatively few, if any, direct emissions, which is a good starting point for a low-carbon future. However, food is one of the three key sources of emissions in households, and therefore, the food industry’s role in reducing emissions is emphasised beyond its own operations. Many emission reducing solutions have already been implemented, but there is always room for more ambitious climate action.
Current and target state
The direct emissions from food industry operations are typically very low, about 0.22 Mt CO2/a in 2017. The sources of the emissions are the use or generation of carbon dioxide (e.g. stunning and roasting) as well as plants’ internal or adjacent energy production. The life cycle carbon footprint of food products consists of raw materials (50%), energy production (30%) and product manufacturing (10%), logistics (7%) and packaging (3%). The industry plans to reduce 75% of the emissions by 2035 relative to net sales.
The food industry is able to reach its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent by 2035 through open information exchange and cooperation in the food supply chain, assuming a predictable and stable business environment.
Energy efficiency measures, such as developing heat recovery, and the adoption of low-carbon energy production methods with biosteam plants and biogas are already largely carried out. Still, the energy efficiency measures (25%) and switching to low-carbon energy (20%) are key enablers in cutting emissions. Other potential sources for decreasing emissions include packaging materials, raw material, owned or adjacent energy production plants as well as logistics and waste treatment. Moreover, there is plenty of unused potential in solutions related to the utilisation of production side streams and the prevention of production losses.
Needs and requirements
The industry roadmap underlines the importance of predictable government measures related to the low-carbon transition and decarbonisation of the energy sector. Development of national statistics also supports the industry’s climate action.
More attention should be paid to the considerations of fair transition. Hence, investments in energy-efficient systems, energy audits, and the sharing of best practices and information should be promoted. Finally, increased appreciation for local and sustainable food should further grow.
Future and positive impacts
The industry plans to continue and deepen the roadmap work. The collaborative roadmap process, which engaged numerous industry stakeholders, offers a good starting point to strengthen the cooperation in the value chain and develop solutions for more sustainable food production.
Did you know that...?
• Finnish food industry covers about 5% of Finland’s GDP
• Domestic content of the food products produced in Finland is 82%
• The food industry is the biggest consumer goods producer and fourth largest industry in Finland