・ Accelerating the food industry transformation

It’s not the cow, it’s the how: Strategies for Paris-aligend meat production Eugen Block Holding GmbH 

Together with right°, Block Group is analysing the own climate impact and checking their climate strategy for 1.5°C-alignment.

How can a company that produces and sells meat operate in compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement? Following a discerning strategy, Block Group has set out to limit the company’s climate impact to maximum 1.5°C. The most effective lever for increasing the sustainability of meat production and consumption lies within the livestock rearing practices themselves. Therefore, Block Group works continuously with its agricultural council, long-term purchasers, and scientific partners to adjust their cattle feeding strategies to reduce the CO2e emissions of meat effectively, holistically, and in conjunction with natural processes.

From Status Quo to Planning the 1.5°C Future

As a first step, right° analysed where Block Group currently stands in terms of climate, using the X-Degree Compatibility (XDC) Model to calculate the entire company’s climate impact in degrees Celsius. This science-based metric compared the company’s greenhouse gas emissions (in tons of CO2e) from the entire up- and downstream supply chains (Scope 1, 2, and 3) to their gross value added (the sum of EBITDA and personnel costs). In addition to the °C assessment, the team at Block Group were received clarity on their remaining emissions budget until 2050. These pieces of data provided a reliable basis for Simon Krämer, Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, and his team to examine the company’s climate strategy for Paris conformity and plan precise reduction pathways.

Block Group’s next step was to use right°’s web-based XDC Scenario Explorer to independently investigate and evaluate the impact of their planned emissions reductions measures. The scenario analysis focused on the feeding strategies of animals from the region whose meat is processed by Block Group. The results clearly showed that the CO2e emissions from feed production can be reduced by increasing the proportion of grass feeding through pasture resource use optimisation. In fact, grass feeding even acts as a CO2e sink because the soil of grass-covered grazelands is capable of storing harmful greenhouse gases over the long term. Working with their farmers to boost the proportion of their cattle’s grass grazing was thus an important step in Block Group’s emissions reductions. To improve the sustainability of their feed itself, Block Group has increased the proportion of locally grown legumes it contains. Legumes in particular have a regenerative effect on soils that can reduce the need for nitrogen fertilisers. Decreasing the use of nitrogen fertilisers enables Block Group to cut their emissions of nitrous oxide, an especially damaging greenhouse gas. The scenario analysis provided Block Group scientifically sound confirmation that their planned animal feed adjustments would indeed efficaciously contribute to the company’s goal of getting on track to 1.5°C.

Avoiding greenhouse gas emissions as early as the livestock rearing phaseFeeding animals protein-rich legumes ensures more than just heightened meat quality. Local cultivation of legumes for livestock feed can decrease the need for nitrogen fertilisers to support future crops on those fields. This reduction is important since nitrogen fertilisers produce nitrous oxide emissions, which have an even greater climate impact than methane.
“It’s not the cow, it’s the how. By resolutely enforcing sustainable agricultural practices and closing resource loops, we’re transitioning our beef production company toward 1.5°C. Now with the XDC Model from right°, we make decisions based on the best available science.”
Stephan von BülowChairperson of the Executive Board, Block Group

A pioneering cooperation

“Society as a whole must reduce our consumption of animal-based foods,” writes the Block Group in their 2021 sustainability report. Meat production always generates emissions. The Scenario Explorer was able to demonstrate, however, that given the right conditions, meat production can in fact be compatible with the 1.5°C goal. To achieve this, a change in agricultural production methods – e.g., closing nutrient cycles – is necessary. The tools from right° provide clarity about Block Group’s climate impact trajectory and empower the company to confidently collaborate with their farmers to execute scientifically confirmed measures that will reduce the climate impact of their meat production to within the 1.5°C goal. Block Group also takes responsibility for its climate impact by actively engaging in partnership projects with agricultural businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their upstream supply chain. The company is determined to continuously optimise their climate strategy – strengthened and supported by right°’s impact-centric, science-based assessment and exploration tools. On into the future, Block Group will measure the progress of their transformation into a 1.5°C company using the reliable performance indicator degrees Celsius.

“We take responsibility for steering the climate impact of our products toward 1.5°C – by lowering emissions from farm to fork. The tangible °C indicator from right° equips us to continuously measure our progress.”

XDC Climate Impact Report

Comprehensive analysis of your current climate impact and required emission reductions as well as definition of possible 1.5°C compatible reduction pathways.

 

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