CLIMATE ACTION & CIRCULARITY
By 2030, Paulig plans to reduce 80% of greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations and 50% from its value chain from a 2018 baseline. And by 2030, all our packaging will be recyclable and made from renewable or recycled materials. Our main focus is now to develop recyclable packages by 2025.
In good company – Frontrunners in climate action
Paulig is the first food and beverage company in Finland and one of the frontrunners globally to have set science-based climate targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Paulig is committed to limiting the global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5°C in its operations and value chain. The targets Paulig has set were the most ambitious available at the time of approval through the Science Based Targets initiative process.
As part of the Paulig Group, we also aim to be frontrunners in climate action, and we are always looking for ways to do even better when it comes to saving the best planet in the whole universe – Earth. When we at Gold&Green talk about the environmental impact of food, we look at things like carbon emissions, water consumption, land use and loss of biodiversity.
Plant-based meals have a lower water footprint, lower carbon emissions and need less land to be produced – making them a win-win-win as we like to say.
To make it easier to understand the size of the climate impacts of foods, we collected scientific research results from life cycle analyses of different protein sources in the table below. There can be large differences in climate impact depending on where and how the products are made, so we express the climate impact of foods in the table below as ranges instead of a single value. In the figure, the bars represent the range of carbon footprints, and the mean is shown by the diagonal line shown in the bar. The figures are given in carbon dioxide equivalents per kilogram.
For us, it’s important to be aware of the climate impact of our own operations and products, so that we can take measures to reduce it. That’s why we have begun to measure the climate impact of products together with CarbonCloud, starting with our hero product Pulled Oats® Nude in Finland, our home country. Pulled Oats® Nude is not only highly nutritious but it also has an extremely small carbon footprint – only 2.4-3.5 kg CO₂ e/kg – and to top that, it’s delicious! What a win-win-win! By monitoring our carbon footprint, we aim to raise awareness of the climate impact of food choices & the calculation works as an important internal development tool in our climate work. We believe in transparency and the power of collaboration, so we collaborate with research institutes to develop sustainability indicators and climate impact calculation methods for the food industry. We work hard to be able to provide people with more plant-based options to change the world one meal at a time.
WHAT DOES PULLED OATS® NUDE’S CARBON FOOTPRINT CONSIST OF?
The carbon footprint describes the climate impact of the product’s entire life cycle. The carbon footprint of Pulled Oats® Nude 240 g is measured to include all stages from the production of raw materials up until the first customer, such as a store in Finland. Most of the climate impact of Pulled Oats® is generated in agriculture and the processing of ingredients and final products. Packaging and transportation play a smaller role. From a consumer’s perspective, this means that unnecessary emissions due to food waste can easily be more significant than emissions from e.g. packaging, as packaging only accounts for a relatively small share of the total climate impact. The distribution of the climate impact in different stages of the product’s life cycle is shown in the figure on the right.
Another step on our sustainability journey: our factory is carbon neutral!
Our Gold&Green® Food’s factory in Järvenpää, Finland has achieved the CarbonNeutral® building certification! In 2020, the Järvenpää factory switched to sourcing renewable wind electricity, which reduced the greenhouse gas emissions from production by 96 %. The remaining emissions from steam production, refrigerant leaks and generated waste have been offset by funding third-party verified forest conservation and reforestation projects. Climate actions are urgently needed and food industry is an important player to drive carbon emission reductions in the food value chain and by making our own operations carbon neutral can drive this change proactively. We aim to be a frontrunner in climate action and are always looking for ways to do even better when it comes to saving the planet for future generations. In addition to the certification, we continue to work towards improved energy efficiency of our operations, increasing the recycling rate at the factory, as well as continuously reducing food loss. We are also looking for ways to reduce the climate impact in the first parts of the value chain together with partners and suppliers.
Working with nature, not against it
Over 80% of farming land is used for animal-based food production globally, yet only 18% of our calories come from animal-based products.
The human food system is closely linked to the loss of biodiversity of land and fresh water. And it’s no wonder, since about 40% of the Earth’s land surface is dominated by agricultural activities. On this land, we grow very much the same crops everywhere – just three plants (rice, wheat and maize) make up nearly 60% of all plant-based calories humans consume. Our food system is the principle driver of loss of biodiversity, tropical deforestation and habitat loss and degradation. However, the great news is that if we transform our food system and increase conservation efforts at the same time, we can reverse the damage we have done. Increasing diversity in our food system and adding more plant-based proteins to our diets are both part of the global effort to improve biodiversity. This is also why we have chosen diverse sources of plant proteins as the base of our products – our three musketeers: oats, peas and faba beans.
Transforming how we produce and consume food is a necessity for a nature-positive, carbon-neutral future.
LARGER POSITIVE IMPACT, SMALLER WATER FOOTPRINT
It’s easy to impact the amount of water you consume by making small everyday choices like shortening the amount of time you spend in the shower. But it’s also important to understand the hidden consumption that comes from how the things you consume and use are produced.
Gold&Green was born in Finland, where we’re lucky to have a lot of natural water resources shared by a relatively small population. This means two things: First off, many of us Finns are used to using water without giving it too much thought, not always mindful of the fact that many other countries aren’t as lucky when it comes to their fresh water supplies. The second thing is that growing crops here is less of a strain on our favorite planet’s fresh water supplies.
As the research-driven sustainability enthusiasts we are, we wanted to find out exactly how much water is needed to produce Pulled Oats®. According to Aalto University’s study, the water footprint of Pulled Oats® was 1370 l/kg. It is significantly lower than the water footprint of many traditional protein foods (e.g. about half the water footprint of chicken and about 1/10 the water footprint of beef). That means that you can save up to 7 bathtubs of water just by replacing one beef-based meal with Pulled Oats®! How amazing is that?
TRY OUR WATER FOOTPRINT CALCULATOR AND BE AMAZED!
Packaging philosophy – PROTECTING THE PRODUCT
If food waste were a country, it would be third-largest cause of emissions in the world.
High-quality and durable packaging plays a key role in protecting products and it also plays an important role in reducing food waste. The priority in our packaging development is always to make sure the food is protected. We focus on creating packaging solutions, that reduce food waste and the total environmental impact of a product. We’re always on the lookout for more environmentally friendly packaging materials and new ways of using them.
Packaging that reduces food waste can be an important tool to reduce the total environmental impact of a product, as most of the impact is generated in primary production. The food inside the package almost always requires more energy, land and water to produce than the packaging itself. For example, the global warming impact of bread is around 22 times larger than the package protecting it. For beef, this ratio is 90. And for cheese 190! Ketchup only has 3 times the global warming potential of its packaging.
In 2021, we succeeded in reducing the amount of plastic by 72 % through a packaging renewal. The new more durable packaging provides even better protection for the product against breaking and aims at decreasing food waste.
WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
We believe in circularity and strategy of using recycled materials. We follow the same principle with branded products like our shirts and bags and we collaborate with partners that share the same philosophy. For example, we have partnered with Globe Hope to make cooler bags from industrial bags that used to deliver oat and legume ingredients to the factory.