Sustainability is at the heart of Atria

Sustainability is at the heart of Atria

Atria started in Finland 120 years ago and has been using and developing responsible ways of working from the start. Today, circular economy, traceability, and renewable energy that aims at reducing carbon footprint are an essential part of Atria.

Sustainable supply chain starts from the fields

Atria monitors the supply chain from the fields where feed is grown, to the farms where animals are raised, all the way through to the factory and logistics. Traceability is a key element of not only consistent production but also sustainability.

“We have our own feed factory, and we know what the animals eat in our chain. We know where our meat comes from and the people who raised the animals. The whole supply chain is transparent and traceable because it takes away the guesswork – we know what happens in our supply chain,” says Sanna Kivimäki, Sustainability Manager at Atria.

Carbon footprint for Atria meat is significantly smaller than the international average

Atria has calculated the carbon footprint of their pork, beef, and poultry production and compared the results to the international average provided by FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations). The results were staggering: the carbon footprint of Atria’s pork and poultry was around 50% lower and Atria’s sample beef was around 70% lower than the FAO international averages.

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The work does not stop at calculating the carbon footprint: it is also necessary to make it visible and transparent to the consumers as well, which is why Atria was the first food company in the world to add a label indicating the carbon footprint of its poultry products on consumer packages. Similar labelling is also used in some pork products now.

“We can confidently say that we have the facts to support the numbers. We have calculated the effects on the carbon footprint on a farm by farm basis, for example. If a restaurant uses our products, they can use these numbers to calculate the carbon footprint of the meat used in a dish,” says Kivimäki.

International initiatives provide direction and make sustainability targets transparent

Sustainable processes are not created in a vacuum, which is why Atria has committed to several international initiatives and recommendations, such as the UN Global Compact initiative and the Science Based Targets climate initiative (SBTi).

“SBTi is a massive undertaking, but it really shows us that we are doing the right things and working towards the right goals. We are investing in our future,” says Tommi Leikkari, Vice President, logistics and poultry production at Atria.

At the end of 2022, Atria’s emission reduction targets were officially approved by SBTi. Atria’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (from the 2020 levels) include a 42% reduction in scopes 1 and 2 and in scope 3 a 20% reduction per tonne of meat processed.

“We are reducing our scope 1 and 2 emissions, for example by adding more renewable energy. Currently, in Nurmo, we have one of the biggest solar panel parks in Finland and we are also looking into investing in wind energy,” Kivimäki explains.

Sustainability is much more than calculating the carbon footprint

At Atria, sustainability is not just about the carbon footprint or climate initiatives. It’s about the well-being of people as well as animals. Well-treated animals are healthy and don’t need antibiotics, which Well-treated people stay in their jobs for longer, which is why there are currently approximately 3600 people working directly for Atria, but also thousands of farmers, logistics suppliers, packaging producers and others happily working towards a common goal.

“When we handle our business responsibly, sustainably, and productively, it has long-term effects on our people and the communities. Atria is a great place to work, and many people stay for decades. That’s one of the aspects of sustainability at Atria I am most proud of,” Kivimäki concludes.

 

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*The carbon footprint was calculated in cooperation with Envitecpolis and Atria family farms. The calculation covers over 50% of Atria's farm-origin-labelled pork and chicken. The carbon footprint of beef is a verified sample from Atria’s production chain. Envitecpolis uses the international Cool Farm Tool in carbon footprint calculations. The Cool Farm Tool is a special tool for calculating carbon emissions from primary production, and it enables the calculation of carbon footprints based on farm-specific information and operations. The calculations are based on the calculation methods of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and the newest scientific information in the field. The international average has been published in a report by the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations): www.fao.org/3/i3437e/i3437e.pdf.