If meat is to lose its reputation as a climate culprit, fields must be grown intelligently, slurry handled critically, and animals tended to carefully. For generations, Danish farmers have been a key driver in global developments, putting Danish agriculture at the forefront of sustainability efforts.
Against this background, Danish Crown will be making billion-kroner investments in farm-to-fork innovation to build a position where sustainability will be driving the incremental value of the Group’s products.
“The sharp focus on sustainability is Danish Crown’s opportunity to become even more relevant to customers and consumers than ever before. We are owned by Danish farmers, and that ownership enables us to drive developments throughout the value chain from field to brand. Our goal is not to produce more pigs, but instead to create more value from the raw materials supplied by our owners,” says Jais Valeur, CEO of Danish Crown.
In the period until 2026, Danish Crown’s goal will be to maintain the supply of pigs at current levels. At the same time, investments will be made in retaining and, preferably, expanding the already strong sustainability position.
Research has shown that the farmer owners need to make investments to the tune of DKK 4-5 billion in technology and new farm buildings, while the plan is to invest DKK 11-12 billion in the business, about half of which will be reinvestments in the production apparatus.
“The market is constantly evolving. With convenience food and plant-based products becoming increasingly popular, we will be investing broadly in innovation as well as production to be able to deliver on our promise of offering sustainable foods. If successful, we will also be able to pay a price to our owners for their raw materials that will enable them both to continue their investments and reduce the carbon footprint at their farms. Briefly said, we need to create a positive, upward-moving spiral,” says Jais Valeur.
Acting like a business with sustainability as its hub places great demands on reporting procedures and transparency towards the general public. Consequently, during the strategy period Danish Crown will adopt binding targets via the Science-Based Targets Initiative (Scope 1-3). This will help ensure that all sustainability initiatives are driven by knowledge and data. One specific near-term initiative is for three of Danish Crown’s largest production facilities to become climate-neutral within the next 12 months.
“We have defined a target of being a leader in climate reporting within our sector. We have decided to sign the Science-Based Targets Initiative, where we undertake to report on emissions from all parts of our operations. This means from the time the grain is planted and the animal is born and all the way to the end-product in the supermarket coolers. Later this year, we will be presenting detailed life-cycle analyses (LCA) for our Danish production, and we will be using these figures to define our binding targets,” explains Preben Sunke, COO of Danish Crown in charge of the Group’s sustainability initiatives, among other things.
During the past five years, Danish Crown has first and foremost worked to consolidate the Group’s domestic markets in Northern Europe and built strong international positions in the categories of bacon, pizza toppings, canned products and natural casings for sausage production.
These efforts have been successful owing to a strong focus on customer and consumer needs. At the same time, Danish Crown has remained agile to be able to profit from global demand no matter which country is showing healthy demand for pork.
Overall, this means Danish Crown’s financial foundation is stronger than ever. The financial targets in the Group’s current strategy have been met by a fair margin, and strong settlement prices for our owners’ supplies during nearly two years have given us more competitive strength. This has given the Group’s farmer owners stable earnings, allowing most of them to invest in their future.
“Meeting our goals together with our owners, we have now once and for all shown consumers, the general public and the industry, that there is a sustainable future for meat and livestock production in Denmark. We will also have created a strong foundation for continuing to develop and chase our goal of climate-neutrality by 2050 (net zero carbon emissions). We have named our new strategy Feeding the Future, because we see it as an important step on the way to feeding the global population in a sustainable manner,” says Jais Valeur.
On Tuesday morning, Danish Crown presented its new strategy to the company’s 25,000 employees.