Usually, the carbon footprint of animal-based products - like meat, eggs or milk - can only be estimated on a general level. Through its SustellTM intelligent sustainability service, DSM helps the world’s egg, meat and milk producers to accurately assess and improve the environmental footprint of their operations using real farm-level data. SustellTM (a cooperation between DSM and Blonk) is designed to be the most scientifically robust, ISO certified and user-friendly tool for value chain players to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable food system.

Wilbert Hilkens and his team can automatically calculate the footprint of each batch of products. They manage to combine all existing monitoring data throughout the whole chain, from growing crops and animal husbandry, through packaging and transportation to its final shop, food service or home delivery channels.

That’s the first exciting aspect of the service that the team is developing. They assemble data from various sources, monitored and produced by different systems and with different terminology. By using artificial intelligence, Hilkens succeeds to combine this jumble of data into a meaningful product passport containing information of one batch.

Impact and costs of Interventions
Such a product passport shows, for instance, the carbon footprint of an individual batch. This provides a useful basis for determining the effects and costs of implementing a certain intervention. The same is true vice versa: which adjustments are needed to reach a set goal, set by retail and foodservice companies, or the EU for instance.

That’s the second exciting aspect: Hilkens expects to establish a fairly good insight into the effects of interventions on the carbon footprint of animal produce.

Currently Hilkens is working with intervention suppliers, parties that provide products or services to lower a product’s carbon footprint. They need to demonstrate the impact their solutions are expected to have based on a well-defined taxonomy. According to Hilkens, the highest impact of such interventions can be achieved in the phase where animals are alive. This insight is interesting for parties that can lower mortality and improve the general well-being of livestock, improving efficiency and therefore lowering the carbon footprint.

Speakers: David Nickell (DSM) and Wilbert Hilkens (FoodInsights)
David Nickell (DSM) and Wilbert Hilkens (FoodInsights)

David Nickell is an experienced Vice President of Global Sustainability, Marketing & Business Development at DSM, Animal Nutrition & Health. He has a demonstrated, highly successful history of working in the worldwide animal nutrition and health industry and value chain. Nickell is a strong entrepreneurial business professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Animal Nutrition.

FoodInsights was founded by Wilbert Hilkens in 2018. FoodInsights creates food supply chain solutions that connect food companies and/or people that create an impact and drive efficiency. Hilkens is an entrepreneurial professional with a track record of more than 25 years in the international food & agri industry.