The Australasian EPD Programme

Value of EPDs for Food & Agricultural Industry

We are seeing a rapid growth in the number of food and agriculture companies publishing EPDs in Europe.  As this is written there are 139 EPDs published by the International EPD System for products from frozen hamburgers, olive oil and pasta to beer and rice milk. There is even an EPD for kiwifruit grown in Greece!

Given the recent crucial role Life Cycle Assessment reporting had in securing continued access to a $1 billion European market for Australian canola (more info here) it is anticipated that food and agriculture companies in Australia and New Zealand will follow their European counterparts with greater use of independently verified LCA and registered EPDs.

Three of the companies responsible for 95 of those EPDs Barilla (61 EPDs), Granarolo (34 EPDs) and Alcubilla (1 EPD) have shared their experience through case studies.

Barilla, famous for their pasta and pasta sauces in Australia and New Zealand, started to conduct life cycle assessments (LCA) in 2000, initially to improve their knowledge of the whole production chain. In 2008 LCA came to form a part of Barilla’s business strategy, which increased the need for measuring and communicating environmental performance. They now have 61 EPDs. Barilla’s EPD story is here.

Many years ago, Italian food company Granarolo also initiated a project aimed to calculate the environmental impacts of their products, through a life cycle approach. Today Granarolo has nine products registered in the International EPD System – such as organics eggs, mozzarella, yoghurt and different kinds of milk. Granarolo’s EPD story is here.

Alcubilla, a family owned Spanish olive tree company, first developed a proposal for calculating carbon footprint (CF) and labelling of their Luque Organic Olive Oil. As there are some other environmental parameters and industry activities consumers were more worried about, they decided to certify all the process under an international and well recognised standard (EPD) that can be used by worldwide consumers. Alcubilla’s EPD story is here.

Publishing an EPD is a credible and transparent way for any business to communicate the environmental impact of its products and services.  There are standardised rules and environmental parameters to report on, making the process rigorous and fair.  Because all EPDs in a product group use the same rules, the data can be compared with EPDs of other products to highlight competitive advantages. And, since all EPDs registered with the Australasian EPD Programme are verified to those rules by an independent third party, the results are extremely credible.

All of this makes for a powerful business improvement and marketing tool for food and agriculture companies that want to stake a claim as environmentally responsible. The Australasian EPD Programme believes environmental consultants should be paying attention to upcoming opportunities in the food industry.

The Australasian EPD Programme invites consultants and food industry personnel to provide feedback and ideas on how we can help this sector with EPDs.

Contact us with your views.

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