Regenerative barley starch is raw material for climate-friendly final products
Apr 21, 2023
Regenerative barley starch is made from barley farmed according to regenerative farming. The largest share of the barley starch’s total carbon footprint comes from farming operations. The methods of regenerative farming improve the soil's carbon sequestration capacity and thus reduce the most significant share of starch's total carbon footprint.
Regenerative farming by contract farmers for the Koskenkorva factory
The Koskenkorva factory aims to be carbon neutral by 2026. The most significant steps in reducing carbon dioxide emissions have been the introduction of a Biopower plant in 2014 and the increasingly efficient energy recycling enabled by the heat pump investment in 2022. By encouraging our contract farmers to implement actions that improve the growth condition of the soil, we can at the same time influence the carbon footprint of our raw material. Anora's goal is to strengthen the availability of regeneratively cultivated barley so that in 2030, 30% of its own beverage products are made from regeneratively farmed Finnish barley. At the same time, we produce a significant amount of barley starch made from regeneratively farmed barley. This regenerative barley starch is an excellent raw material for our customers who cherish environmental values. We make regenerative barley cultivation contracts directly with farmers and pay them a contract supplement. An external inspector visits the farms and audits the cultivation procedures. After the growing season 2023 the farm-specific carbon footprint of plant production will be calculated. BIOCODE makes the calculations for the basis of farm planning and actions on the contract farms. In this way, more research data can be collected on the climate effect of regenerative farming methods and the carbon footprint of farming can be further reduced.
Climate impacts of regenerative barley starch will be investigated in the future
Most of barley starch’s climate impact comes from barley cultivation and agricultural production inputs. A study commissioned by the Starch Industry Association investigated the climate effects of barley starch in 2008 and 2020. According to the study, the climate effect of barley starch decreased by 31% during this period (Luke, 2020). The most significant factors in the reduction of climate impacts at that time were the development of the production of fertilizers used in the cultivation of barley and the increased use of renewable energy at the Koskenkorva factory.
The aim is to further influence the carbon footprint of barley starch by developing barley farming methods. Contract farmers use various climate-friendly actions to increase the amount of carbon bound to the ground. At the same time, the growth conditions of the land are improved, so the farmer also has the opportunity for a higher yields. At well balanced soil the physical, chemical and biological properties of the land are in shape. Well balanced soil can withstand extreme weather events: it can buffer heavy rains or store water for dry seasons. Winter vegetation cover of fields and well-planned crop rotation are examples of regenerative farming actions.
The goal is to increase the amount of regenerative starch every year to an increasingly significant part of our starch production. At the same time we can lower the impact of our raw material procurement. The effects of regenerative barley farming will only become clear when the cultivation has been monitored for a sufficient period of time and a new comprehensive calculation has been carried out. An unbiased study will be carried out in the next few years.