7 Apr 2022

Donau Soja discloses environmental data of soybeans

Agri-footprint Branded Datasets now available 

Donau Soja is a non-profit, independent, and member-based organisation based in Vienna, founded in 2012. The goal of Donau Soja is to promote the development of a sustainable, safe, and European protein supply. The organization supports soybean cultivation in Europe and therefore set up the Donau Soja / Europe Soya standards and labels. These standards support a sustainable, regional, GMO-free soy production of controlled origin and quality from the Danube region, and from other parts of Europe. The organization unites around 300 members in 27 countries, varying from food retailers, agricultural traders, animal feed industry, to environmental organizations. Besides that, the initiative is also supported by 19 European governments.

Donau Soja is keen to disclose their environmental impact data to facilitate a rapid transition to more sustainable European protein value chains. Therefore, Blonk Consultants conducted a Life Cycle Assessment of Donau Soja / Europe Soya certified soybeans from four different countries: Serbia, Croatia, Ukraine, Romania. The LCA datasets are now available as Agri-footprint Branded Data Add-ons and can be downloaded for free from the Blonk Tool Portal.

Insights

This project evolved around the collection of primary data originating from a defined set of soybean farms producing according to the Donau Soja / Europe Soya Standard that are representative of each of the four countries under analysis. Primary data was collected for yields and all fundamental activity data such as: synthetic and organic fertilizers application, pesticides application, irrigation, fuel use, land occupation and land use change. The results for carbon footprint are shown in figure 1. The most impactful activities within cultivation are related to the direct emissions occurring on farm (mainly of N2O due to fertilizers application), and in a minor fashion the production of agrochemical products and the burning of fuel used in mechanical operations. Yield also happened to be a strongly relevant data point. In fact, as impacts are calculated per kg of soybean, the higher the yield the lower the impacts, and vice versa. Consequently, the best performing farms that were observed were the ones that managed to obtain high yields with relatively amounts of fertilizers. Land use change emissions are accounted as zero, based on farmers´ data and additional verification measures by Donau Soja and Blonk Consultants (i.e., integrity check, satellite analysis).The results for all impact indicators are included in the downloadable Branded data files.


Applications of the data

The datasets provide information into the environmental performance of Donau Soja / Europe Soya soybean production on a country level.

Through sharing primary data stakeholders and other interested parties can identify the hotspots within the Donau Soja / Europe Soya supply chain and understand how the geographical location of cultivation activities might influence the environmental performance. It can also help to support policy formulating and strategic decision-making for stakeholders in the value chain.

Soy cultivation in Europe

Europe’s current agricultural systems depend on soya. Around 35 million tons of soya are imported annually into the EU-27, two thirds of these imports come from South America. But soya grows well in Europe and has huge potential as soya currently accounts for only 1-2% in European crop rotation. Europe Soya and Donau Soja give soya a new, European face.


Environmental data of Donau Soja now available

Agri-footprint Branded Dataset

The environmental data of Donau Soja / Europe Soya certified soybeans is now publicly available as Branded Dataset via the Blonk Tool Portal. The Branded Datasets are supplements to Agri-footprint, the agri-food LCA database. Whereas Agri-footprint contains averages of agricultural products and animal feeds, Branded Datasets provide insight into the environmental impacts of products of specific brands. The life cycle inventory (LCI) data is available as a .csv file, which can be imported into the SimaPro LCA software. The environmental impacts (calculated with ReCiPe midpoint (H)) are also available in an Excel format.

More information

Get in touch

Davide Lucherini
Medior Consultant | Blonk Consultants

Questions about this project? Get in touch with Davide.

Please visit the website of Donau Soja for more information on this project or to request the background report.