Footprinting and Animal Production Systems

How to Manage Your Journey to Environmental Sustainability?

The challenge of making global production of environmentally intensive products like meat, milk and eggs, more sustainable is becoming increasingly urgent. A growing group of companies acknowledges that reducing the environmental impact of animal products is critical to stay in business in the long run. They also realise that this is a chain-wide undertaking and that working together is the best way to create impact. Increasing numbers of innovations and solutions, such as feed solutions and housing solutions, are being developed to help reduce the impact of animal production systems. To steer towards truly sustainable and future-proof animal production it is necessary to measure the (potential) impact of these innovative solutions. However, this can be an intensive and expensive process that requires expert knowledge and specific data.

Accurate method to measure, manage and improve the footprint
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology provides a scientific basis for sustainability assessments and allows an environmentally holistic and accurate approach for footprinting studies. An LCA gives insight into the entire lifecycle of a product from cradle to grave and shows where the environmental impacts take place.

Over the past 20 years, Blonk has worked on many sustainability and footprinting assessments for various organizations and initiatives in the animal production value chain. Examples are sustainable feed solutions, innovative animal housing systems and the development of international environmental calculation standards and databases. While working together with the sector and observing developments in the international animal production industry, we developed an online platform that gives complete and independent LCA results to monitor the environmental performance of innovations and solutions in the animal production value chain. A platform that enables stakeholders to measure, manage and improve their solutions and truly contribute to more sustainable animal products. The result is the Animal Production System (APS) Footprint platform.

APS-footprint: Measure, Manage and Improve
Blonk developed the APS-footprint platform to help stakeholders throughout the animal production value chain tackle the sector’s vast environmental challenges. It enables you to measure, manage and improve innovative sustainability solutions using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. With APS-footprint you can easily develop and substantiate environmental footprint claims of innovations and solutions by comparing a benchmark reference system with an intervened system. You can also input your collected data into the APS-footprint platform where it will be compared and analyzed against an existing reference system based on international research and standards. The platform has a global scope, and allow you to model feed mills, dairy farms, broiler and laying hen farms, pig fattening and breeding farms. Other modules such as aquaculture and beef are currently under development. Scientific credibility and sound results which are internationally recognized are the core of APS-footprint. Therefore, we follow the most relevant and up-to-date, internationally recognized guidelines in the calculation methodology of our platform. We highly value transparency and the methodology report is publicly available.

How to manage your journey to environmental sustainability?
Access to data on the performances of targeted solutions is key for successfully managing and improving the environmental footprint. Dependent on the availability of data, the various stages of designing an innovative solution can be environmentally monitored in APS-footprint:

  • During the first design and conceptualization stages, it is possible to estimate the potential environmental benefit and trade-offs of an innovative solution. This is based on reference animal systems provided by APS-footprint platform, and first estimations over the innovative solution performance.
  • During the prototyping and testing of stages, it is possible to use trial and test data to estimate more precisely the benefit of the innovative solution, and substantiate environmental footprint claims before introducing the solution in the market.
  • During and after the product launch, the APS-footprint platform allows assessing real applications of the innovative solution, as long as data on actual application of the innovative solutions is gathered. This allows monitoring and communicating yearly environmental benefits on the overall value chain.

Some examples of solutions that are typically assessed with help of the APS-footprint platform are: low-emissions manure management systems, innovative housing systems and emissions abatement technology, inclusion in the diet of feed ingredients additives, implementation of circular/low-impact feed ingredients and innovative animal management practices.

Find more out on APS-footprint on blonksustainability.nl/aps-footprint

Blonk is a Gold Partner at the 2022 Animal AgTech Innovation Summit in Amsterdam. Meet Hans Blonk during the Data & Supply panel discussion and get insights on how data can help towards environmental sustainability or join his roundtable session on focusing on ‘Managing the Journey to Environmental Sustainability’. You can also meet the Blonk team and drop by the (virtual) Blonk booth.