HKScan is one of Finland’s largest food industry companies, and the company’s product brands, which include HK, Kariniemen and Via, are familiar to virtually everyone in Finland. The group has approximately 7,000 employees in the Nordic and Baltic countries, and its net sales exceed EUR 1.8 billion.
In recent years, sustainability has become a core aspect of HKScan’s strategy. “Food needs to feel good in your mind too,” says HKScan’s Vice President, Sustainable Primary Production, Ulf Jahnsson. “HKScan aims to achieve a carbon-neutral food supply chain by 2040, and we are committed to the international Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative,” Jahnsson says.
HKScan is developing the Agrofood Ecosystem model, which improves the sustainability of food production using a digital approach. HKScan has worked with Digia to develop a system that significantly reduces the company’s carbon footprint at its primary source: farms.
What we did
- system for reporting and reducing carbon footprint
Carbon footprint analysis as a path to emission reductions
According to Jahnsson, HKScan has been determinedly developing its environmental work with the help of experts in the field. The company calculated that primary production is responsible for more than 90 per cent of the group’s carbon footprint. This is why HKScan decided to develop a reporting system that can analyse the emissions of farms and help them move towards carbon-neutrality.
They chose Digia as their partner in implementing this promising project. “We have been working together for a long time, and we have found Digia to be a reliable partner,” says Development Manager Aira Harju, who is responsible for the project at HKScan.
Digia’s industry expertise was also an aspect that HKScan considered important. “This is a difficult system to implement if you don’t know the industry. Digia understands our business well,” Jahnsson explains.
This understanding proved important, as the project involved some pioneering efforts in sustainability. Calculating the farms’ overall carbon footprint is complex, and HKScan worked with Digia to develop a model for publishing the results of the calculations. This was added to the Sinetti producer portal, previously developed in collaboration between Digia and HKScan. It allows producers to easily find out what the carbon footprint of their farm’s meat production is.
HKScan’s primary goal is to help farms reduce their carbon footprint. The system has been designed with “traffic lights” that let farms know if their emissions have risen or fallen from previous years and see how their emissions stack up against those of other farms. In addition, the portal helps producers break down where their emissions are coming from and advises them on concrete steps they can take to reduce them. For example, the portal may give recommendations on planting catch crops to keep fields green for as much of the year as possible, minimising tilling or using fertilisers optimally.
HKScan is building a sustainable food production ecosystem
According to Jahnsson, the system provided by Digia has worked well in the pilot stage and will be initially implemented on roughly 200 poultry and pig farms. It will later be implemented more widely in Finland and other countries the group operates in.
HKScan’s experiences of working with Digia have been positive. “Cooperation with Digia has gone extremely well,” Harju says.
“Digia knows how to listen to their customers, and communication with them goes smoothly. Getting in contact with their experts is easy, and you can always find a good pair who can spar with each other and give you different options,” Harju says. She appreciates that Digia’s experts have always been ready to address their customers’ wishes and questions, and that help and support has always been available on short notice.
“Digia’s knowledge and expertise are also excellent. They understand what is practical and feasible and are able to give good advice,” Harju says. She also praises Digia for taking future development needs into account when developing the system.
Jahnsson says that cooperation with Digia continues. HKScan’s system development goals are ambitious, and further development is underway in areas such as advanced analytics. HKScan wants to develop the entirety of Finland’s food system in a direction where the level of sustainability is clear to consumers from just the product packaging. In addition to addressing the carbon footprint, other areas of sustainability are also being developed.
“For example, we are keeping an eye on biodiversity, which may be one of the system’s next development directions,” Jahnsson says.