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Insight: Lowering lecithin's greenhouse gas emission
Expertise
November 25, 2021

As we all know, human activities release greenhouse gases that lead to global warming, the main cause of climate change according to IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) assessment reports. In response, the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. With this international treaty, nearly all countries are committed to substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the rise in global temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, while pursuing the means to limit the increase to 1.5°C. We are fully committed to this goal and have developed concrete initiatives to reduce carbon emissions across our supply chains, including our lecithin supply chains.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires companies to work on many levels:

  1. Measuring CO2 equivalent emission through company´s operations, bought electricity as well as up & downstream agrifood value chain (from farmers to distribution)
  2. Establishing Science Based Targets, making clear its policies and commitments, and transparently reporting on its progress
  3. Managing activities upstream through active engagement in accredited frameworks, partnerships, and monitoring systems
  4. Controlling activities within the company’s operations
Managing upstream activities for positive impact

Reducing carbon emissions in plant-based lecithin requires a focus on the first stage of the supply chain, emissions from purchased raw materials contributes over 60% of  Bunge’s value chain GHG footprint. Bunge has established the industry’s most ambitious commitment to eliminate deforestation in its supply chains globally by 2025 – five years ahead of our peers.

Promoting regenerative agricultural practices like no-tillage farming, crop rotation and use of cover crops are essential to reduce soil erosion, improve soil quality & water holding capacity, lower the use of chemical fertilizers, and reduce GHG emissions. Bunge supports farmers in adopting these methods by partnering with local conservation groups, governments and universities as well offering financing and market premiums to incentivize change. Furthermore, Bunge operates integrated supply chains to maintain control & transparency to ensure the benefits of sustainable agricultural practices can confidently be claimed by its customers. Over the last few years, Bunge has invested in innovative technologies that contribute to building more responsible supply chains. Three technologies we have developed and pioneered are:  Agroapp, an application that allows Bunge to communicate and promote sustainable production with farmers; Covantis, an initiative to implement blockchain in global commodity trading; and Agroideal.org, an open-source planning tool that integrates social and environmental criteria into agricultural expansion decision-making.

Supporting shipping decarbonization
We work with transport companies who are committed to reducing CO2 emissions and can provide real time CO2 emission measurement on the transportation fleet. They measure, report and verify their emissions offering full transparency. Bunge is also a founding member of the Sea Cargo Charter which provides a framework for aligning chartering activities with responsible environmental behavior. In addition, we have signed the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization to support zero-emission shipping vessels by 2050.

High certification ratings for sustainability
Certifications like ISCC PLUS are market tools to verify the responsibility and sustainability of lecithin. In a 2013 benchmark study, WWF (World Wildlife Fund) judged ISCC as one of the best sustainability certification systems in a comparison of all 13 certification systems recognized by the European Commission.

Controlling emissions within Bunge’s operations
Bunge Loders Croklaan is committed to reduce GHG emission in line with the Paris Climate Agreement by setting Science Based Targets. Our targets include reductions in Scope 1 (direct emission from Bunge´s operations) and Scope 2 (indirect emission from the generation of bought energy) emissions by 25% and Scope 3 (direct and indirect emission in Bunge´s upstream & downstream value chain) emissions by 12% by 2030 (with 2020 as a baseline).

We have already achieved a global -5,4% intensity reduction (per ton of production) in 2020 (vs 2016 baseline) from our operations, and we are proud to report that we are switching to green energy in our crushing plants, which resulted in a record 79% intensity reduction in Mannheim, Germany. Green energy can also help us achieve our longer-term goals. For example, through cogeneration we can recycle steam from our own operations or another company's and use it to generate electricity.

Reduce emissions without changing your recipe
Bunge’s global presence offers the ability to source all locally relevant food ingredients to minimize transportation emissions. For any EU destination market, sourcing local and regional crops like rapeseed and sunflower seed may have a lower carbon footprint than crops sourced overseas.  Switching to lecithin derived from these crops can support food manufacturers to align with the Paris Agreement and help them meet their own emission-reduction targets.

CO2 reduction expertise at your disposal
Bunge Loders Croklaan has the knowledge and expertise to help you select the right lecithin for a lower-carbon production process. For more information, please contact us.

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