Changing the world is delicious
There are two types of carbs, but one really matters in the long-term: the carbs in the planet’s atmosphere. By calculating our carbon footprint, we aim to raise awareness of the climate impact of food choices. We want to be part of the bigger solution in the fight against climate change. But to succeed we need collaboration and action. Read below about the carbon footprint of Pulled Oats® and what you can do to help reduce our planet’s carbs today!
THE PLANET NEEDS US TO CHOOSE MORE CLIMATE-FRIENDLY PROTEINS
When we talk about the planet’s carbs, we are referring to carbon dioxide and its friends (like nitric oxide and methane), that is, the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The climate impact of a given product, i.e. the amount of greenhouse gas emissions emitted during its life cycle, are often described as the carbon footprint, which for food is often expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of the product (kg CO2e/kg).
From the planet’s point of view, our food choices are vitally important. For example, many sources of traditional protein (from animal sources) have a large carbon footprint. We have started to calculate the carbon footprints of our products with CarbonCloud online tool, starting with our hero product Pulled Oats® Nude 240 g in Finland, our home country. Pulled Oats® Nude contains a huge amount of protein (up to 30g/100g !!), but it also has an extremely small carbon footprint – only 2.4 kg CO₂ e/kg – and to top that, it’s delicious! What a win-win!
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 240g is measured to include all stages from the production of raw materials up until to 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.
44% of the climate impact comes from the processing of the raw materials and producing our products at the factory in Järvenpää, Finland. We treat our ingredients with the most respect by processing them as little as possible – the production process of Pulled Oats® is actually similar to a very controlled way of making bread. We use steam and 100% renewable wind power as the energy source at our Gold&Green factory in Järvenpää.
6% of the climate impact comes from packaging materials such as plastic bags and cardboard boxes. The priority in our packaging is always to make sure the food is protected and safe. Since most of the climate impact is generated in primary production, we focus on creating packaging solutions that reduce food waste and the total environmental impact of a product. In addition, we’re always on the lookout for more environmentally friendly packaging materials and new ways of using them. Our ambition is that all our packaging will be recyclable and made from renewable or recycled materials by 2030. Our main focus is to develop fully recyclable packaging by 2025.
43% of the climate impact of Pulled Oats® Nude comes from the cultivation of raw materials, i.e. agriculture. This category includes greenhouse gas emissions from biological soil organic processes, carbon leakage from organic soils, and emissions from fossil fuel use in machinery and the production of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Finally, it includes the consumption of fossil fuels and electricity on-farm for drying and other processes.
We believe in the power of Nordic plants, sustainable farming and simple ingredients. From the very beginning, we’ve used carefully selected high-quality ingredients – sourced as locally as possible to our roots in Finland. The ingredient list of Pulled Oats® Nude is short and simple: water, oats (oat protein, oat bran, whole grain oat flour), pea protein, faba bean protein, rapeseed oil and salt.
Transport makes up 7% of the total climate impact including transportations of raw materials to the factory and transportation of products from the factory to the first customer in Finland. All the raw materials and our products are transported on water by ships or overland by trucks. We source our raw materials as locally as possible – for example, all the oats and faba beans are grown in the clean Nordic nature, partly in Finland.
And what does the carbon footprint tell? Is it high or low?
There are big differences in carbon footprints between different types of food. By choosing a food with a lower carbon footprint, you can reduce your own carbon footprint and help lower the planet’s carbs. On a general level, plant-based proteins come with a significantly lower climate impact compared with animal proteins and the less processing the product requires, the smaller the climate impact. Based on the Finnish study, people in Finland could easily reduce the climate impact of their diets by 30–40 % just by changing to a more plant-based diet.
However, comparing the carbon footprints of products can be challenging, as calculations can be made with different calculation methods, scopes and allocations. Also the ingredients, how and where a product is made all matters. This is why we express the climate impact of foods in the table on the left 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. As you can see, the carbon footprint of Pulled Oats® is significantly smaller than in meat!
The sustainability journey continues
As part of the Paulig Group, we are committed to Paulig’s sustainability approach and long-term ambitions, including the science-based climate targets. Paulig’s goal is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from own operations by 80% and from the value chain by 50% by 2030. A better understanding of the climate impact of our products is an important step on our sustainability journey towards even lower climate impact.
In 2020, by switching to using 100% renewable wind power at the Gold&Green factory in Järvenpää, Finland we reduced emissions from our own 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 so we are happy to tell you that from May 2021 our factory has been carbon neutral!
In 2021, we also succeeded in reducing the amount of plastic by 30 % through a packaging renewal. The new more durable packaging provides even better protection for the product against breaking and aims at decreasing food waste. In addition, we continue to work toward improved energy efficiency of our operations, increasing the recycling rate at the factory, as well as continuously reducing food loss. As climate impacts in the early stages of the value chain form a significant part of the carbon footprint, we are also looking for ways to reduce these climate impacts in the value chain together with our suppliers and partners. For example, Paulig has launched a baseline study in collaboration with the University of Helsinki to reduce food loss in Paulig’s value chain.
Check out our heart-warming &
We have developed some heart-warming & planet-cooling recipes to make it easy for you to get started with Pulled Oats® & Deli OatBites products. We all love food & it plays a big role in our everyday lives (since we must eat anyway). Try our tasty recipes and share your cookings with us! Besides eating delicious food while saving the planet, remember to pay attention to reducing food waste and recycling packaging materials. If we all change even the tiniest things, we can make a huge difference. We also love to hear your tips & tricks for a more climate-friendly lifestyle. For us it matters.
A carbon footprint describes the climate impact of a certain product or process and includes all types of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, N2O, etc.) caused by said product or process. In the case of food, the unit used is often carbon dioxide equivalents per kilogram of the product (kg CO2e/kg). The carbon footprints presented here include emissions from all steps of the production chain from the farm to the regional distribution center or first customer, such as grocery stores. A certain type of food can be reported to have different carbon footprints depending on the production location, processes and energy sources. Choices made in calculation methodology and a lack of data can also cause differing results between studies.
We want to help our customers to make better informed everyday decisions and raise awareness of the climate impact of food choices. We want to be advocates for good food choices when it comes to both health of the people and the planet and we also see the climate impact calculation as an important internal development tool. Now we have baseline for the Pulled Oats Nude to use for planning future activities for reducing the climate impact and innovating new products that are even better for the people and the planet.
The climate impact of product sold to professional kitchens is somewhat lower as less packaging material is used for packing it per kg of produced Pulled Oats®, compared to the smaller retail packaging. The carbon footprint of Pulled Oats® Nude 1,5 kg (for food service) is 2.2 kg CO2e/kg.
The different carbon footprints of Pulled Oats® in different packaging sizes or transported to different markets are listed below:
Pulled Oats® Nude 240 g Finland: 2.4 kg CO2e/kg
Pulled Oats® Nude 1,5 kg Finland: 2.2 kg CO2e/kg
Pulled Oats® Naturel 175 g Netherlands: 2.7 kg CO2e/kg
Pulled Oats® Nude 240 g Australia: 3.5 kg CO2e/kg
Comparing product carbon footprint results between products is challenging since the calculations can be made with different boundaries, scopes and allocations and thus it would first need to be ensured that similar methodology is used. On a general level, plant-based proteins come with a significantly lower climate impact compared with animal proteins and the less processing the product requires, the smaller the climate impact.
We have started to measure the climate impact of our products, starting with our hero product and best seller Pulled Oats® Nude. The plan is to calculate carbon footprints for other Gold&Green® products as well. The heart of our innovation is Nordic oats combined with legume proteins, and we use this combination as a base in all our products. In addition to this, other flavor variants of Pulled Oats® and Deli OatBites contain more ingredients, like spices. The carbon footprints are estimated to be relatively low for our other products as well.
CarbonCloud is a research-based food-tech company with a disruptive web-based platform that enables detailed calculations of climate footprints of food products and production processes. CarbonCloud’s platform enables food producers across the world to calculate, identify and improve their climate footprints of their products while providing transparency towards consumers. Read more about their methodology: https://carboncloud.com/faq/