Palsgaard’s newly released 2014 CSR report details how the Denmark-based food ingredients producer continues to set its industry’s standard in sustainability – including working towards an ambitious goal to achieve CO2-neutrality by 2020.
Emulsifier producer Palsgaard A/S’s 76-page 2014 CSR report, its fifth such publication, maps global progress on the company’s sustainability agenda within four strategic areas: Corporate Governance, Energy & Environment, Products, and Employees. The report describes the impacts and risks raised by business activities, as well as measures taken to address them.
In sustainability, the successful Danish company continued to punch far above its weight. During 2014, Palsgaard made significant progress in addressing environmental sustainability – a challenging ambition in an industry where the production of high-quality emulsifiers tends to be energy-intensive. Objectives include setting the industry’s most ambitious target in terms of CO2 emissions: global CO2-neutrality by 2020. In as little as five years, Palsgaard has reduced emissions by an impressive 61%, and is on track to meet the 2020 target.
CEO Jakob Thøisen is confident of Palsgaard’s ability to achieve its objective
“We’ve more than halved CO2 emissions already. Our footprint for 2014 is now equivalent to the emissions produced by burning 2300 tonnes of coal, or from the electricity usage of 653 homes in a year. Since 2009, we’ve already made cuts equivalent to powering 1,112 homes for a year. And we have more initiatives under way, too. At our plant in Mexico, for example, solar panels can now produce up to 85% of its electricity.”
Sustainability efforts at Palsgaard are in line with the principles of the UN Global Compact, which are integrated into the company’s Code of Conduct and general activities. Reporting follows the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
Through a formal supplier code of conduct, the company encourages sustainable sourcing among its suppliers, stating, for example, that it will use 100% sustainably certified palm oil by 2015. In 2014, the Danish plant achieved RSPO Segregated (SG) certification, and now holds both SG and RSPO Mass Balance (MB) capability.
Certification of Palsgaard’s Malaysian emulsifier plant to the RSPO standard will take place in 2015.
Numerous other initiatives benefiting sustainability continued through 2014 to capitalise on Palsgaard’s particular expertise – using emulsifiers, for example, to achieve up to 50% fat reduction in puff pastry margarines without affecting functional properties, as well as to reduce fat in a number of final food products. As another example, the company’s expertise with innovative food ingredients has been used in a scientific project to improve nutritional uptake for people with Down’s syndrome.
Room for improvement
Palsgaard’s 387 employees worldwide benefit from flexibility, job security and personal development opportunities. This is reflected in a continued low rate of sick leave, as well as measurably high loyalty levels.
In the global process industry, workplace safety, however, remains an area for improvement. In 2014, a better system for registering near-miss incidents was established in Denmark, and further safety culture improvements planned for 2015 include a new evaluation system, a ‘nudging’ project, and work routine adjustments.
Good business sense
“We’re here to support food manufacturers in their efforts, and sustainability makes good business sense for our company and the communities in which we work.”
Jakob Thøisen sees Palsgaard as playing an important role in raising the quality of food and in making food production more efficient and sustainable:
Palsgaard developed the world’s first commercial emulsifier a century ago – and it hasn’t stopped inventing since. Using R&D labs and application centers around the world, the company not only develops new emulsifiers or emulsifier/stabilizer solutions, it also helps food manufacturers make the most of them in their products within: Bakery, Confectionery, Ice cream, Margarine, Mayonnaise & Dressings. Palsgaard was founded more than a century ago with a mission, vision and values encompassing the concepts known today as Corporate Social Responsibility. The company’s main factory and headquarters are today situated in Denmark, with further manufacturing plants in China, the Netherlands, Mexico and a new facility in Malaysia.
Palsgaard is owned by the Schou Foundation, the main purpose of which is to operate by supporting relevant research for industry and development and to maintain the Palsgaard Estate for the overall benefit of its employees and the local community. Being owned by a foundation gives Palsgaard the freedom to take a more holistic, long-term view on investments and activities, as opposed to focusing solely on financial performance.