Chr. Hansen makes major sustainability progress with solar park development
Danish bioscience and food solutions group Chr. Hansen has confirmed its good bacteria and natural colours ranges are now produced on 100% green energy with the installation of two new solar parks which have been put into full operation.
According to the business, the move has been made possible with a 10-year agreement with local company Better Energy, in a model which it hopes will be adopted by its wider global operations within its other international markets, as part of best practice for company sustainability.
As part of the new agreement, Chr. Hansen, which produces a number of solutions for the confectionery and bakery sector, will take 2/3 of the annual energy production from the new parks; this corresponds to the consumption of 15,000 Danish households and reflects the firm’s annual energy demand for its operations with its home nation, which makes up 40% of the global consumption for the group.
Chr. Hansen, who was awarded as the world’s most sustainable company in 2019 and this year came in second on the prestigious list published by Canadian Corporate Knights, is committed to minimising its footprint: “We want to contribute positively to the transition to green energy. That is why we have decided to buy solar energy from Better Energy’s two new parks so that our good bacteria and natural colors have a green footprint, both externally with our customers and on our home turf where some of our largest production sites are located,” says Annemarie Meisling, senior director of Sustainability, Chr. Hansen.
The company’s production plant in Copenhagen, which is the world’s largest factory for the production of lactic acid bacteria, accounts for more than 70% of Chr. Hansen Denmark’s total electricity consumption, whereas headquarters in Hoersholm north of Copenhagen accounts for around 15%. Two other Danish factories, located in Roskilde south west of Copenhagen and in Graasten close to the German border, account for the rest.
According to Peter Munck Søe-Jensen, EVP for Power Production & Asset Management in Better Energy, the agreement with Chr. Hansen is a good example of how companies can assume joint responsibility for new energy from renewable sources to the benefit of the entire country:
“Chr. Hansen’s purchase of electricity from our two new solar parks in the next 10 years is groundbreaking. Today it is possible to choose a new green energy supply that makes a true difference because it directly supports the development of new renewable energy sources. In the transition towards renewable energy supply, companies can make a world of difference by buying new green energy,” he explains.
Furthermore, the company makes a contribution to Denmark’s collective efforts to reduce its CO2 emissions by 70 percent in 2030. The really good news lies in the fact that this model is scalable and that the global bioscience company can expand it to other countries – and concrete actions are already being taken to that effect.
”Today, our business and production in the US have an energy consumption that is around half of that of Chr. Hansen in Denmark, but with the expansions planned over the next years, we are expecting this to increase. We are currently in dialogue with different suppliers of renewable energy in the US with a view to seeing if we can land a solid agreement,” reveals Jesper Deela Nielsen, senior manager in Global Sourcing, Chr. Hansen.
The current challenge facing the world owing to the COVID-19 crisis has not changed Chr. Hansen’s focus on contributing to the transition to green energy and responding to climate change. Quite on the contrary.
“The fight for a more sustainable future based on regeneration, reimagination and reform has never been more relevant. We hope to see global leaders, politicians and governments back a COVID-19 recovery plan that will accelerate a green transition. Over the past months, we have witnessed an enormous drive and cooperation, which proves that change can happen fast when there is a will to act,” concludes Chr. Hansen’s senior director of Sustainability, Annemarie Meisling.
Chr. Hansen has entered into Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Better Energy, who has established two brand new solar parks. Energy Denmark will support the agreement by being responsible for creating a balance between consumption and production of electricity and handling the difference that will always exist when the sun doesn’t shine. In that way Chr. Hansen’s energy supply will be secured with power production from a mix of several other renewable sources like wind and biogas.