The carbon footprint of meat production is smaller in Nordic production

Atria’s food production is based on the taste, healthiness, safety, usability and sustainability of raw materials and processed products. Sustainable Atria is part of Atria Group's strategy and includes four focus areas: product, planet, people, and responsible business operations. We are passionate about food and meat, so we especially focus on developing the most sustainable meat production.

To get started, we studied the carbon footprint of Atria's primary production from the farm to the slaughterhouse gate.

  • The carbon footprint of an Atria example pig is 3.8 CO2e/kg of carcass weight. It is about 40% lower than the international average. Increasing protein self-sufficiency is one of the most important factors in reducing the carbon footprint of pork, according to the calculation. Converting feed for Atria's fattening pigs soya-free has already enabled a 32 % reduction in carbon emissions over the entire production chain.
  • The carbon footprint of an Atria example bovine is 13.4 CO2e/kg of carcass weight. This is about 70 % lower than the international average. The carbon footprint of beef on the farm included in the calculation was about 25 % smaller than in research projects completed in Finland in 2016 and 2017. The development work carried out on the Atria Beef chain farms in recent years has paid off.
  • The carbon footprint of an Atria chicken is 3.2 CO2e/kg of carcass weight. It is about 40% lower than the international average. A key factor behind this is the low use of soya and the good health of chickens, which allows Atria's chickens to take full advantage of their feed. Atria's chicken feed is 80% made up of Finnish feed grains – dehusked oat and wheat. Finnish grains have a higher protein content than Central European grains, and low-protein maize is not used at all. Moreover, soya is being increasingly replaced with Finnish peas and broad beans.

carbon footprint of pigs, chicken and beef

The carbon footprint calculation has been carried out with Envitecpolis Oy and Atria Family Farms. Farms representing the average Atria production chain have been selected for the calculation. Envitecpolis uses the international Cool Farm Tool to calculate carbon footprints. Cool Farm Tool specialises in carbon emission calculation for primary production and enables the calculation of a unique carbon footprint based on the farm's own data and functions. The calculation is based on IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) calculation methods and the latest research in the field. The international average is published in the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) report.

By 2021, Atria will identify the carbon footprint of its products, understand the cause of emissions, how the emissions can be decreased and how a carbon-neutral food chain is realised. Especially the reduction of the environmental impact of Atria's industrial operations is a key target of the programme. Besides carbon emissions, Atria will pay attention to water and energy consumption and to developing environmentally friendly packaging solutions.