It is easy enough to say that sustainability is at the core of your business. Huvepharma, however, is putting its money where its mouth is with a 9-figure investment in renewable energy.
Moreover, the global health and nutrition company is not merely just promising future action, but has already implemented an integrated system for environmental protection in compliance with the requirements of the international standards ISO 14001 certified by SGS and IPPC.
According to Global Marketing Director Veerle Hautekiet, Huvepharma assesses every incremental part of the production process, down to the lighting systems, to minimise waste and reduce reliance on finite energy resources. Today, we discuss how the company's dedication to circular principles and responsible environmental stewardship is embodied not only in its renewable energy commitment, but also in how it manages and minimises production waste, how it packages products, and how it thinks about portfolio development.
[Feedinfo] What role does renewable energy have in the production of animal health and nutrition products at Huvepharma? What kinds of renewable energy are we talking about?
[Veerle Hautekiet] Huvepharma has extensive fermentation activities, and energy is essential for production. Therefore, it was important for us to address the question of energy, which we first took on through heavy investments in circular production economies in our manufacturing plants.
Water, energy and waste are key to circular economy. These three, often complementary resources can be managed synergistically. Huvepharma has installed modernised wastewater treatment (WWT) plants, a number of exhaust air filtration installations and incinerator plants where we utilise waste materials and biomass to produce steam, which is then returned to production. Cogeneration systems also produce energy which is used in the production process.
Beyond recycling waste into useful energy, we have also been installing solar panels to generate green energy.
[Feedinfo] Huvepharma is making a sizeable investment in renewable energy: €180 million. What exactly will this investment fund?
[Veerle Hautekiet] This investment is the latest in our environmental governance strategy. We have already made considerable progress in reducing our GHG emissions with the installation of wastewater treatment plants, biomass plants, air filtration systems and so on. With this investment, Huvepharma is installing solar power capacity. Construction has already begun to expand from our existing 25 megawatts (MW) of capacity which is already in use. By 2023, we will have 150 MW of solar power, and will continue installations to reach a capacity of 300 MW (the equivalent of the energy supply for 300,000 households). Once this is operational, which is expected in 2030, Huvepharma will be self-sufficient in its energy needs.
[Feedinfo] How does this provide a point of differentiation for the company?
[Veerle Hautekiet] Our aim is for carbon neutrality by 2030. Our circular production economy, which is described above, means that we will generate our own power from solar energy and recycle energy from the production process itself. Huvepharma has already modernised our wastewater treatment (WWT) plants, installed air filtration systems and built incinerator plants where we utilise waste materials.
Huvepharma is a privately owned company. This means that we can direct investments according to our own priorities. Environmental governance is a key priority for Huvepharma.
Because we manufacture our own products, from strain to shelf, we know how much energy is used in the production process. We do not need to import most of our active product ingredients from third parties or audit their environmental claims. This is not a claim which many companies can make within the animal health and nutrition sectors.
We can define the full lifecycle assessment (LCA) for our products, from the manufacture of the product to its impact on livestock emissions.
We know that our products reduce the GHG emissions from livestock production. Phytases, for example, reduce poultry and swine GHG emissions by more than 5% and Huvepharma's recommended coccidiostat program reduces broiler GHG emissions by 4%. By achieving carbon neutrality in the production process, we can further define the carbon footprint at farm level with more accuracy.
More broadly, there has been volatility in fossil fuels over the past few years, both in terms of price and supply. Huvepharma's goal of self-sufficiency in its energy supply means that by 2030 we will not be subject to fluctuations in fossil fuel prices and the supply chain disruptions which inevitably result.
[Feedinfo] You have also made a commitment to "engage partners upstream and downstream in the value chain" to address indirect (scope 3) emissions. Can you give any examples of what this engagement consists of?
[Veerle Hautekiet] Huvepharma's biomass facility is able to use waste materials from other companies' production processes. Not only are we able to utilise our own waste, but we are also able to help other companies with their waste materials too.
An example of our downstream partner engagement is the Huvematic tool for our feed mill customers. Huvepharma manufactures highly concentrated instant water-soluble enzymes so that mills can produce fresh liquid enzymes on-site and on-demand using the Huvematic.
There are lower emissions associated with water soluble enzymes versus bulk liquids when we consider the transport of containers, the use of plastic in the IBCs, waste when disposing of the IBCs, waste of leftover liquid enzymes and so on.
[Feedinfo] How is Huvepharma optimising packaging to reduce its carbon footprint?
[Veerle Hautekiet] The Huvematic for the production of on-site and on-demand liquid enzymes, as mentioned above, is one example. Another example is water-soluble pouches. B-Act Buzz is a probiotic for use through the drinking water and Dragonhyde is a hygiene product used in cattle footbaths. Both are now packaged in biodegradable sachets which dissolve in water, reducing waste, and we will expand this packaging to other products in our portfolios where we can. Our veterinary powders and granules are packaged in zip-locked sachets. This is very different to the traditional products on the market which are non-resealable, resulting in waste from spillages and unusable product.
[Feedinfo] How does the commitment to algal oil fit in with Huvepharma's overall dedication to responsible environmental stewardship?
[Veerle Hautekiet] HuveNutra is our joint venture to manufacture, extract, process and market algal-based omega 3, which is non-GMO, gluten free and based on organic extraction methods. Algal-based omega 3 offers the same key ingredients as fish oil but doesn't interfere with the natural ecology of the oceans and does not contain PCBs or dioxins. HuveNutra aims to facilitate an increase in the consumption of omega 3 from algal sources and, in time, will contribute to decreasing the dependence on omega 3 from fish.
[Feedinfo] How are you going to measure your successes in reducing your carbon footprint?
[Veerle Hautekiet] We've established our baseline energy consumption. We are currently compiling our first comprehensive environmental and social governance report, which will be published later this year. We will detail our environmental policies and in subsequent reports, quantify the reductions which we make in our emissions as we move towards our goal of carbon neutrality.