18 Dec 2017

Understanding Avebe’s environmental product performance

Developing a bespoke LCA model

Avebe is a cooperative of starch-potato growers focusing on extracting starch and proteins from potatoes. These ingredients are used by Avebe’s customers in food products and animal feed or in industrial applications. Sustainability is an important objective for Avebe. The company aims to make its production processes as sustainable as possible by reducing energy use, investing in new technologies, minimising transport and using clean transportation systems, and monitoring its environmental footprint. And for that Avebe need to have an accurate picture of the environmental footprints of its products. To meet this need, Blonk Consultants worked with Avebe to develop a bespoke life cycle assessment (LCA) model that can be used to calculate the environmental footprint of each of the products in the company’s portfolio.

“Our clients increasingly ask for the environmental footprints of our products. With this LCA model we can generate up-to-date LCAs more or less automatically.”
Peter Bruinenberg - Avebe

A life cycle assessment model

The LCA model pulls up Avebe’s crop registration data and combines them with the company’s product registration data. The resulting dataset can then be used to provide a picture of the entire potato production chain and calculate its environmental footprint. The figure below shows the Avebe production chain with the stages included in the model. It is a ‘cradle-to-gate’ model and so it includes all the stages up to and including the final product made in Avebe’s factory. The model includes all the products and semi-finished products from all of Avebe’s production sites. This amounts to more than 1700 products and semi-finished products across 6 production sites in 3 countries.

How does the LCA model work?

The LCA model imports data from various Avebe data systems. These data are then processed by an algorithm into a structured dataset and converted into a format suitable for use by LCA software packages. Key steps in the algorithm are linking the process inputs to background datasets, generating production chains by linking semi-finished products to end products, and converting the data into a format suitable for use by LCA software. In the LCA software the data are used in various environmental analyses. The results give Avebe valuable information about the environmental footprints of all its products and production sites.
Avebe uses the model to draw up its annual environmental footprint. These results can also be used in the company’s internal and external communication, for example in the form of product fact sheets.The results can also be used for the company’s sustainability reporting. The model is constructed so that in future it can easily be linked to other datasets and systems.

More information

Get in touch

Marcelo Tyszler
Head of Data Science and Data Innovation

Are you interested in a sound understanding of your company’s environmental data or a bespoke LCA model for your production chain? Then contact Marcelo.