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Pork roasts, steaks, barbecue sausages and veggie mince. Danish Crown has a wide range of products, and a common feature for them is that they are sold in packaging. Each year, Danish Crown uses 88,600 tonnes of packaging, and the company intends to make it more sustainable,

Danish Crown has initiated a new Supplier Driven Innovation Programme, inviting both established business and innovative start-ups to contribute to developing the packaging of tomorrow. Among other things, Danish Crown has set a goal of finding a solution that will make large parts of its packaging biodegradable.

“Good ideas often develop into great ideas when more people help in the process, and we believe that collaboration and cross-organisational partnerships are key to creating a far more circular economy. Perhaps we might even come up with a solution that will make packaging less detrimental to the environment. Such a goal would be very exciting to aim for and would be in line with our group strategy “Feeding the Future”. Here we commit to constantly challenge how we produce the food of the future” says Lars Feldskou, Group CPO at Danish Crown.

Reduced volumes, increased recyclability

The new innovation programme is part of Danish Crown’s new packaging strategy “Reduced volumes, increased recyclability”, which is presented today in Herning, Denmark, at Foodexpo, the largest food trade fair in the Nordics. The strategy includes an ambitious goal that 100 per cent of Danish Crown’s products must be sold in recyclable packaging by 2030. At the same time, by 2030 packaging volumes must be reduced by 30 per cent from today’s level. Already by 2025, 90 per cent of Danish Crown’s packaging must be recyclable, and the consumption of packaging must be reduced by 15 per cent.

“It is essential for Danish Crown’s sustainability ambitions that we reduce our consumption of packaging and that the packaging we use is recyclable. As a business, we have made a commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by 50 per cent by 2030 and to be climate neutral (net zero) by 2050, and while we are obviously aware, that most of our emissions are from the farm-level, we simply cannot reach these goals if we don’t consider all levels of our company,” says Lars Feldskou.

Food safety is given top priority

As a food producer, Danish Crown faces a special challenge when designing the packaging of tomorrow. Unlike other product groups, we have to consider food safety, shelf life and quality as essential issues.

“Obviously, it had been easier if we were shipping and selling electronic equipment or toys. We will never compromise on the food safety, shelf life or quality of our products when selecting new packaging. Not even if the packaging in question achieves a high sustainability score. This prioritisation is non-debatable, and we are confident that consumers fully agree with us on that point,” says Lars Feldskou.

Danish Crown's ambition is to be a successful leading player in sustainable meat production by 2030. Among other initiatives, the company has joined the Science Based Targets Initiative, which is a partnership between the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI), CDP and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which helps companies reduce greenhouse gas emissions in such an extent that it contributes enough to keep the global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5 degrees,