Energy, water and climate

Energy, water and climate

Our climate ambition is aligned with the ambition of our parent company to reduce scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 63% by 2030, with 2015 as baseline. The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) has approved this level of reduction as a relevant contribution to the Paris Agreement target to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The shift from fossil to renewable energy sources is a central element in achieving this ambition, along with initiatives to improve the efficiency of our production. Our greatest challenges in this respect are the increasingly advanced nature of our ingredient portfolio and business growth. This requires us to map and optimise our use of resources at each processing step.

Priority actions
Our energy and water workstreams are driving activities to reduce our overall environmental footprint. Current carbon reduction initiatives are focused on reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions. The development of a new scope and ambition for our water workstream is high on our agenda in 2023, with a particular focus on data transparency.

Following a total plant assessment of Danmark Protein and ARINCO in 2022, we plan to implement many of the recommendations for water and energy optimisation in the coming year.  We will also continue multi-site ‘quick-win’ improvements as part of the Arla supplier-driven assessments programme, which has identified three new focus areas for 2023.

At our production sites, the following major projects are underway or planned:

Danmark Protein
Our 2030 utility master plan sets out the investments necessary for the transition to green technology and business growth. Major projects in 2023 include:

  • Investment in a 15MW electric boiler in preparation for balancing the grid load
  • Investment in a 90°C heat distribution system to utilise exhaust heat from the biogas motors.
    The system will be prepared for future connection to heat pumps. CO2 emissions reduction target: 2,400 tonnes/year

A cleaning in place (CIP) optimisation project will enable recovery of nitric acid solution for reuse. Significant savings are expected on energy and cleaning agents.

Following the installation of a new CIP system in 2021, optimisation of plant cleaning procedures continues. Reducing the amount of wastewater and COD sent to the wastewater treatment plant is a primary focus. In 2023, ArNoCo will also pilot the use of ultrasound to improve the energy efficiency of the cleaning process in lactose production.

Carbon emissions
Our carbon emissions calculation covers the direct emissions (scope 1) and indirect emissions from purchased energy (scope 2) of our three fully-owned sites, which are those included in our climate ambition. The fully-owned sites are Danmark Protein, ARINCO and AFISA. In 2022, scope 1 and 2 emissions fell by 7.7% overall. This was due to energy optimisations at sites, a small reduction in powder production and the group-level purchase of renewable electricity certificates.

Due to the risk of a natural gas shortage, Danmark Protein converted partially to fuel oil – increasing scope 1 emissions. The negative CO impact of this temporary shift to oil was balanced by the purchase of renewable energy certificates. This offsetting action reduced Danmark Protein’s scope 2 emissions, leading to an overall reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions of 7.4%.

At AFISA, scope 1 and 2 emissions fell by 8.6%, primarily due to the natural gas line commissioned in 2021 to reduce the plant’s dependence on fuel oil. Danmark Protein has finalised the installation of a 60°C system for redis- tributing surplus heat from its compressor stations. The system will save 632 tonnes of CO2 a year. A 90°C heat system is also under construction
to redistribute surplus heat from the plant’s biogas motors as hot water. A potential 2,400 tonnes of CO2 will be saved in the first phase.

MVI has undergone a full carbon assessment to highlight opportunities for improvement. Carbon optimisation initiatives in 2022 focused on heat recov- ery and insulation. As a joint venture site, MVI is not included in the carbon emission figures shown here.

Annual scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions across all sites

Energy mix
The energy mix at our fully-owned sites impacts our CO2 performance and ability to meet the climate goals.

In Denmark, natural gas consumption fell by 22% overall due to the uncer- tain supply situation in Europe. Although biogas was able to replace some natural gas at Danmark Protein, fuel oil was reinstated as an energy source towards the end of the year.

In Argentina, AFISA continued the transition from fuel oil to natural gas following the completion of a new gas pipeline.

Electricity continues to account for around a quarter of the energy consumed across the three sites.

Danmark Protein. ARINCO, AFISA


Energy efficiency
The energy consumption of our fully-owned and joint venture production plants varies each year according to product mix and volumes. In 2022, powder production decreased by 4%, while energy consumption fell 2% compared to the previous year. Energy consumption per tonne of product increased by 2%.

Looking at our fully-owned sites alone, powder production went down by 6% and energy consumption fell 2% compared to the previous year. Energy consumption per tonne of product increased by 4%.
At Danmark Protein, ongoing investments to improve energy efficiency resulted in total natural gas savings of 5.52 GWh/year – equivalent to the average heating requirements of 305 households – and electricity savings of 2.1 GWh/year – equivalent to the average power requirements of 477 households.

Supplier-driven assessments have driven multi-site continuous improvements in LED lighting, pumps and insulation in 2022.

Total annual energy consumption at all sites / Annual energy efficiency across all sites

Water efficiency
Total annual water consumption at our fully-owned and joint venture plants refers to water drawn from municipal water supplies and well water. In 2022, water consumption increased by 5%, also when looking at our fully-owned sites in isolation.

There are two primary explanations. Firstly, extra cleaning was necessary at ARINCO and Danmark Protein due to microbiological challenges. Secondly, there was a significant change in the whey pool at AFISA, where more raw materials are being delivered as preconcentrate, with a high solids content, than thin whey. While this reduces tank truck deliveries – and thereby the climate impact of transport - this means less water is available from the raw material for reuse in the plant. Consequently, more well water is required. In Denmark, our technical water facility for recycling wastewater supplied Danmark Protein with 500m3 of technical water a day for non-food contact purposes through 2022. The next expansion up to 900m3 a day is now being planned.

No water-saving projects were completed at Danmark Protein in 2022. However, new opportunities were mapped with potential to save around 1,000m3 a day. An implementation plan is currently being developed. AFISA has also established facilities for cleaning and reusing wastewater as technical water. The current capacity is 100m3 a day.

At MVI, a new CIP set has been installed and is now fully functioning, using recycled water from the filtration process. This has reduced water consump- tion by around 10%.

Total annual water consumption at all sites / Annual water efficiency across all sites

On society
We recognise our responsibility to make the most of our whey-based raw materials, minimise waste and to limit our impact on the environment. Through our consumption of energy, water and other materials, we risk contributing to climate change and to depleting non-renewable resources.

On Arla Foods Ingredients
Environmental changes that impact the supply and cost of raw materials, energy and clean water to our sites constitute a substantial business risk. Any failure on our side to address our potential impact on the environment and climate also represents a threat to our reputation.

On Sustainable Development Goals

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