Dirk Röse

Klasmann-Deilmann con­ti­nues posi­ti­ve trend

Fifth Sus­taina­bi­li­ty Report published

Emis­si­ons moni­to­ring, alter­na­ti­ve sub­stra­te com­pon­ents, short-rota­ti­on fores­try and Spha­gnum far­ming: in its fifth Sus­taina­bi­li­ty Report, Klasmann-Deilmann high­lights its capa­bi­li­ty in many are­as which are cur­r­ent­ly the focus of envi­ron­men­tal-poli­cy deba­te. The company’s cli­ma­te foot­print impro­ved slight­ly year-on-year, des­pi­te an incre­a­se in pro­duct out­put, to 270,593 t of CO2 equi­va­lent. Con­ver­ted to annu­al pro­duc­tion, this cor­re­sponds to average emis­si­ons of 79.56 kg per cubic met­re of sub­stra­te, down 2.96 kg/m³ on 2014. At the same time, the pro­por­ti­on of substrates for the inter­na­tio­nal food sec­tor in the firm’s sales mix rose by ano­t­her two per­cen­ta­ge points to 43%.

In Janu­a­ry 2016, Germany’s Federal Minis­try of the Envi­ron­ment issued a posi­ti­on state­ment con­cer­ning both the dis­cus­sion on the use of peat in hor­ti­cul­tu­re and the pro­duc­tion of alter­na­ti­ve ener­gy sources (Par­lia­men­ta­ry Paper no. 18/7197). Accord­ing to this publi­ca­ti­on, Klasmann-Deilmann is alrea­dy addres­sing tho­se sus­taina­bi­li­ty issu­es regar­ded as most important by the Ger­man natio­nal government, and moving them for­ward by means of its own pro­jects. “We wel­co­me the Ministry’s comments as a well-con­si­de­red respon­se to the chal­len­ges facing com­mer­cial hor­ti­cul­tu­re, and see them as an affir­ma­ti­on of our stra­te­gic focus on sus­taina­bi­li­ty in all of our company’s acti­vi­ties,” says Mana­ging Direc­tor Nor­bert Siebels.

Alt­hough the Envi­ron­ment Minis­try con­clu­des that, for the time being, peat will remain essen­ti­al for pro­du­cing substrates, the indus­try is under obli­ga­ti­on to inten­si­fy its use of alter­na­ti­ve com­pon­ents. In the ear­ly 1990s, Klasmann-Deilmann began com­pos­ting green was­te, sin­ce which time it has used alter­na­ti­ve ingre­dients such as wood fib­re and green com­post in manu­fac­tu­ring its gro­wing media. Its pro­duc­tion of wood fib­re went up to 138,000 m³ in 2015, with that of green com­post rising to 96,000 m³. “We remain com­mit­ted to our goal of incre­a­sing the pro­por­ti­on of alter­na­ti­ve raw mate­ri­als to 15% of our annu­al pro­duc­tion total,” Siebels confirms.

The manage­ment of short-rota­ti­on fores­try (SRF) plan­ta­ti­ons on agri­cul­tu­ral land is deemed by the Minis­try to be a land use of envi­ron­men­tal inte­rest that merits fun­ding. Espe­cial­ly in the Bal­tic Sta­tes, Klasmann-Deilmann has exten­si­ve SRF sites that are play­ing an ever more important role in the pro­gres­si­ve switch to sus­tainab­le ener­gy sources. Klasmann-Deilmann has exten­ded the area avail­ab­le for SRF in this regi­on by 263 hec­ta­res to 2,927 ha.

In laun­ching the world’s lar­gest rese­arch pro­ject on the cul­ti­va­ti­on of Spha­gnum (peat moss), aimed par­ti­cu­lar­ly at deve­lo­ping a rene­wa­ble raw mate­ri­al for use in substrates, Klasmann-Deilmann has been making use of one of the opti­ons men­tio­ned by the Envi­ron­ment Minis­try for the eco­no­mic uti­li­sa­ti­on of peat­lands. “We hope this pro­ject will help us deve­lop las­ting syn­er­gies bet­ween natu­re con­ser­va­ti­on and cli­ma­te pro­tec­tion on the one hand, and our company’s various busi­ness are­as on the other,” Mana­ging Direc­tor Moritz Böcking affirms.

Klasmann-Deilmann com­mis­sio­ned a sci­en­ti­fic moni­to­ring cam­pai­gn in Ger­ma­ny and Lit­hua­nia, star­ting in ear­ly 2015; its inten­ti­on is to obtain the reli­able data that is, accord­ing to the Envi­ron­ment Minis­try, still out­stan­ding. Inte­rim results indi­ca­te that the actu­al levels are con­si­der­ab­ly lower than pre­vious assump­ti­ons. Average emis­si­on totals deter­mi­ned for the black-peat extrac­tion site used for moni­to­ring in Ger­ma­ny were 2.94 t of CO2e/ha/annum, whe­re­as tho­se on the white-peat extrac­tion site used for moni­to­ring in Lit­hua­nia were 7.22 t of CO2e/ha/annum. “To date, our cli­ma­te foot­print has been based on assu­med levels of 10.73 t of CO2e/ha/annum,” exp­lains Böcking. “If the­se emis­si­on figu­res are con­fir­med in the second year of the moni­to­ring cam­pai­gn, that means we have pre­vious­ly over­esti­ma­ted a key pil­lar of our cli­ma­te foot­print.” After the project’s con­clu­si­on next year, the fin­dings will again be pre­sen­ted to a sci­en­ti­fic sub­com­mu­ni­ty. In so doing, Klasmann-Deilmann will be making a sub­stan­tia­ted con­tri­bu­ti­on to the assess­ment of green­house emis­si­ons from peat extrac­tion areas.

The action that Klasmann-Deilmann is taking throughout the com­pa­ny is reflec­ted in the key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors inclu­ded in its cli­ma­te foot­print. Des­pi­te an incre­a­se in the quan­ti­ties extrac­ted and pro­du­ced, both the cor­po­ra­te and pro­duct car­bon foot­prints impro­ved. When all cli­ma­te-rela­ted fac­tors along the value chain ‘from raw-mate­ri­al extrac­tion to the fac­to­ry gate, inclu­ding trans­port’ are fac­to­red in, the cor­po­ra­te car­bon foot­print for 2015 reve­als con­ver­ted emis­si­ons of 270,593 t of CO2e. With the total volu­me of gro­wing media and raw mate­ri­als sold stan­ding at 3.40 mil­li­on m3, this trans­la­tes into an average car­bon foot­print for the year under review – expres­sed per cubic met­re of sub­stra­te – of 79.56 kg of CO2e/m3. The cli­ma­te foot­print was once again veri­fied to the ISO 14064 stan­dard by inde­pen­dent experts. Taking stock, Siebels comments: “This means we achie­ved key sus­taina­bi­li­ty objec­ti­ves in 2015, as we did pre­vious­ly. In the com­ing years we will very much con­ti­nue down the suc­cess­ful path we have chosen.”