Sustainable food production
We accept responsibility for the food of today and for the world of tomorrow. Our current food products help to maintain natural cycles, to protect the climate and natural resources, and to develop social cohesion. We are continuing to work on this, and we set ourselves ambitious goals: by 2030, we will be one of the most sustainable food producers in Europe. Our motivation is the sustainable production of food.
Natural cycles and an undamaged environment are prerequisites for our food. For 50 years we have been producing high-quality food products in accordance with this belief so that millions of consumers can enjoy a healthy, tasty diet. At the start of 2020, we expanded our sustainability management programme with a defined 10-year strategy, Agenda t30. We are thus accelerating our efforts towards sustainable food production.
Tönnies has defined quantifiable goals for this. A selection of milestones is outlined below in relation to the defined goals.
End to use of soya from tropical forests
To completely stop using soya from South America.
In 2022, 75% of protein feed already comes from sustainable sources. By the end of 2023, we will exclusively use sustainable protein feedstuffs for feeding the pigs in Germany and will no longer use soya from the rainforest and savannah regions of South America. We continue to work on solutions with our agricultural producers and leading feed manufacturers so that, in the future, feed will be even more sustainable.
Reduction of nitrates in manure
To reduce the nitrate content in liquid manure by 30% (vs. the level in 2005).
In 2022, we were able to implement a reduction in nitrate content of 22% compared to 2005. This is helped by our TONISO feed concept. Here the farmers reduce the protein components in feed. This makes the manure “thinner”, and the nitrate content is reduced.
Reduction of antibiotics
To work with suppliers to reduce the use of antibiotics by 75% (vs. the level of 2014).
In 2022, we were able to record a 71%-reduction in the quantity of antibiotics administered. This positive trend is continuing in collaboration with our agricultural partners and QA so that we can achieve our goal of a 75% reduction in the use of antibiotics in the future.
Increase of animal welfare standards
70% of supplied animals should come from extra-statutory forms of farming (2-4).
In 2022 more than 50% of animals supplied to us already came from extra-statutory farming methods (2-4). With the agreement to continue the Initiative Tierwohl (ITW) [animal welfare] after June 2021, we, together with the ITW, have been able to reach a milestone. Since July 2021, the German food retail industry has switched the entire basic range to farming type 2.
Reduction of petroleum-based plastics
To use 70% less petroleum-based plastic packaging in total packaging material for the Tönnies Group (vs. the level in 2017).
In 2022, we were using 34.5% less petroleum-based plastic packaging in our total packaging material for the Convenience Division in comparison to 2017. With the introduction of the flow-pack packaging for most of the self-service range, further massive reduction steps can be taken.
CO2 savings in logistics
50% fewer CO2 emissions in the area of road transport (excl. containers) for our main sites (Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Sögel and Weißenfels) per tour (vs. the level in 2015).
In 2022, we produced 22% fewer CO2 emissions in the area of road transport (excl. containers) for our main sites (Rheda- Wiedenbrück, Sögel and Weißenfels) per tour in comparison to 2015.
Protection of resources
90% of the energy mix at Tönnies production sites generated from renewable sources.
In 2022, 65% of the energy mix in the Tönnies production facilities was sourced from renewable energies.
In the long term, to provide all interested employees with accommodation that complies with defined standards.
By 2022, we have created 5,800 standard-compliant dwelling places for interested employees.
Tönnies Nutrient Strategy
I. Politics and agriculture control THE tool for developing future-proof agriculture
The issue is not that too many farm animals produce too much manure. The solution is thus not a general reduction in stock. What is needed is custom-fit livestock farming which enables a harmonious fertiliser balance and the equal distribution of valuable farm manures (slurry, manure).
II. We can achieve a lot by reducing artificial fertilisers and using farm manures
The manufacture of artificial fertilisers uses approximately three percent of the world’s energy requirement: vast amounts of petroleum-based fossil fuels, which generate significant CO2 emissions. In contrast, the farming of livestock is criticised by many. However, farm animals provide valuable fertiliser as well as food.
III. Natural fertiliser is available; it supports regional cycles and keeps areas intact and usable
The use of liquid manure from animal husbandry makes large areas of agricultural land usable for the first time. All that is needed is a harmonious fertiliser balance and even distribution of the fertiliser. This also reduces the excess nitrogen. If farmers were to utilise fertiliser in such a way that the plants could absorb 80 percent of the nitrogen from fertilisers such as liquid manure, not 60 percent as it is now, it would be possible to reduce the quantity of excess nitrogen by an average of 16 kg. This was determined in a study by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA 2019).
The Nutrient Strategy supports economic activity in harmony with nature and the environment:
- Reduce the consumption of fossil fuels
- Reduce CO2 emissions
- Secure regional cycles in animal husbandry
- Secure the future for thousands of family-run agricultural businesses
- Autonomy from expensive food exports with a poor CO2 footprint
- Reduce excess nitrogen in the ground in Germany by 16 percent
= CO2 reduction, climate protection, protection of smallholder farming
Three fields of activity
1. Protein feed from sustainable sources and, where possible, from secondary products
From the end of 2022, Tönnies will focus exclusively on sustainable protein feedstuffs for feeding the pigs in Germany. The complete end to the use of soya from the rainforest regions and valuable savannahs in South America is our contribution to saving the important ecological resources for the world and the climate. We have been able to achieve this following constructive meetings with feed manufacturers, farmers, QA and retailers.
2. Modified protein feed, minimise nitrogen
We are helping to further reduce the excess nitrogen in feed. At the same time, we are increasing the use of domestic proteins, including boosting the reintegration of safe waste material from food processing and food leftovers.
3. Priority for farm manures
We advocate reducing the use of artificial fertilisers in agriculture. Artificial fertilisers are petroleum-based, require a lot of energy to manufacture and result in a surplus of nitrogen which damages the soil. We support modern processing techniques and the further processing of liquid manure and manure into dosable fertilisers. Furthermore, there is a need to create political framework conditions and incentives for the use of farm manures.
With the Nutrient Strategy, Tönnies is committed to the entire cycle of livestock farming and is intensifying its activities in nutrient management. The goal is to work in a resource-optimised manner with relevant partners from the agricultural industry and, specifically, to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
More information on the development and progress of our Sustainability Management is available here.
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Dr. Gereon Schulze Althoff
Director of Quality Management and Veterinary Services
Dr. Wilhelm Jaeger
Director of Agriculture Department
Director of Animal Protection Unit
Director of Environment and Energy Management
Director Corporate Responsibility