LIFE Project Cover Photo

Promoting the implementation of Product Environmental Footprint Methodology in the European Dairy Sector.

Reference: LIFE16 ENV/ES/000173 | Acronym: Life-RENDER

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The food and drink industry is a major contributor to the overall pollution load in Europe. The sector is a major energy (10-15% of total energy in industrialised countries) and water (8% of all water used by the industrial sector) user. A 2006 UK government report on “Environmental Impacts of Food Production and Consumption” indicated that dairy products have the second highest environmental impact in the sector, with milk, cheese and butter contributing up to 4% of the global warming potential of consumption, and up to 13% to eutrophication.

Within the dairy industry supply chain, dairy farming produces the most greenhouse gas emissions. However, according to a recent United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation study, up to 55% of the total environmental impacts of dairy products come from the processing stage. The main challenges that dairy processing plants face are water consumption, effluent discharge, energy consumption and emissions.

Meanwhile, consumers and stakeholders are putting an increased focus on the environment. In this regard, the European Commission developed the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) as a single metric to assess and benchmark the environmental performance of products. To make PEF studies more consistent, technical guidance for specific product categories, or Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs) have been developed. However, application of the PEF methodology is often too complex for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The European Commission has identified some key actions to tackle this: provide tools to support SMEs and make sure that PEFCRs represent a simplification of the application of PEF.


OBJECTIVES

Life-RENDER will develop and demonstrate an innovative decision-support tool that will help SMEs in the food and drink sector to carry out PEFCR-compliant studies and to identify focused environmental measures. The project would promote the implementation of the PEF methodology at European level as a key tool to assess life-cycle environmental performance of products, and to communicate them to business consumers and stakeholders. The tool would be usable by non-experts through simplified data collection and analysis processes.

The project’s specific objectives were to:

  • Demonstrate an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand software tool for dairy sector SMEs to carry out PEFCR-compliant studies as a basis for reducing environmental impacts, in particular by minimising energy and water consumption, minimising waste and optimising the use of raw materials. This tool will be the first of its kind for the dairy sector;
  • Demonstrate the tool by assessing the environmental footprints of 30 dairy products in France and by implementing measures identified by the software application to reduce the environmental footprint of six dairy products;
  • Demonstrate the transferability to other Member States of the tools through replication tests in dairy companies in Spain and Portugal;
  • Improve the competitiveness of the EU dairy sector by reducing production costs and improving environmental performance; and
  • Implement awareness-raising strategies aimed at consumers and stakeholders to increase their familiarity and understanding of PEF.

 


RESULTS

The LIFE-RENDER project demonstrated under real conditions the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of an innovative tool for determining the environmental footprints of products (PEFs) and the rules for their categorisation. The tool, which is aimed at SMEs in the food and drink sector, also helps identify environmental measures.

The project team also carried out a series of studies on products, identifying eight measures for lowering their environmental impacts. However, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the beneficiary from implementing these measures itself; it therefore cooperated with another dairy company on the demonstration of seven measures that were shown to have environmental and economic benefit.

To  ensure  the  replicability  of  the  project  tool in other Member States, a training  course  on  the  environmental  performance  of  dairy businesses, along with the tool itself, was made available to federations and associations that signed up to a memorandum of understanding.

 

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan  (see "Read more" section).

 

 

 

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE16 ENV/ES/000173
Acronym: Life-RENDER
Start Date: 04/09/2017
End Date: 30/09/2021
Total Eligible Budget: 1,540,276 €
EU Contribution: 924,163 €
Project Location:

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: Inkoa Sistemas, S.L.
Legal Status: PCO
Address: Ribera de Axpe 11, Edificio D-1, Local 208, 48950, Erandio, España
Contact Person: Idoia Unzueta
Email: Send Email
Website: Visit Website


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Food and Beverages
  • Environmental accounting

KEYWORDS

  • decision making support
  • food production
  • environmental assessment

TARGET EU LEGISLATION

  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Directive 2012/27 - Energy efficiency (25.10.2012)
  • Directive 2010/75 - Industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (24.11.2010)

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Inkoa Sistemas, S.L. Coordinator
DELOITTE(BIO INTELLIGENCE SERVICE), France Participant
ACTALIA ASSOCIATION, France Participant
FEDERACIÓN ESPAÑOLA DE INDUSTRIAS DE ALIMENTACIÓN Y BEBIDAS, Spain Participant
COOPERATIVE LAITIERE DE LA SEVRE, France Participant
Federação das Industrias Portuguesas Agro-Alimentares, Portugal Participant
Association Nationale des Industries Alimentaires, France Participant
In Extenso Innovation Croissance, France Participant