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As the world population and therefore also food production continue to grow, livestock farming is under heavy pressure to become more sustainable. Innovative animal feed can be a solution. It results in significant improvements in terms of social and environmental impacts, a recent study by Evonik and KPMG shows.
Editorial office / Essen

Specialty Chemical company Evonik has developed amino acids for animal feed that help reduce the protein intake of animals, so that they emit less nitrogen. The innovative animal feed also improves digestion, so that less food and water is used and less manure is produced. The Dutch biotechnology company DSM is working on similar innovations.

Saving billions

To measure the consequences of innovative versus conventional animal feed, Evonik, together with KPMG’s financial and sustainability experts, analyzed the social effects. They looked at the production of chickens (Brazil) and pigs (China). The economic, but also ecological and social consequences of meat production in the value chain were translated into a price per ton of live weight (t/lw).

Innovative animal feed appears to reduce the negative environmental and social effects of chicken production in Brazil by a third. The biggest savings can be seen in land use (for fodder crops), biodiversity, soil acidification and air and water pollution. The researchers conclude that innovative animal feed in Central and South American poultry farming can save around € 5.5 billion in social costs

The analysis of pig farming in China showed comparable results. The social and environmental impact of the industry means that the “real” price of pork can be reduced by almost 12% thanks to innovative animal feed. This would save € 12.3 billion in social costs in North Asia.

Follow-up research

“The results clearly show enormous potential to positively influence social value creation when using innovative animal feed and calls for transparency about the general social value creation of products,” says Martin Viehöver, Senior Manager Sustainability Services of KPMG Germany. According to Emmanuel Auer, head of Animal Nutrition at Evonik, the study can “trigger a meaningful dialogue in the value chain and help transform agriculture into more sustainable practices.”

In the near future, the company also wants to measure the effects of feed in other important poultry and pig producing regions, as well as in the dairy and aquaculture sectors. The current study can be downloaded via the Evonik website.