Date: February 2015
Pointing the way: Holle baby food produces truly sustainable food for babies
“Anonymous CO2 certificates are not enough”
When it’s about high-quality baby food, parents often choose products from biodynamic cultivation. The Demeter certification not only stands for a quality that exceeds EU organic standards, it also guarantees humane husbandry and sustainable soil cultivation. With its idea of sustainability, Holle baby food goes one step further: The first manufacturer of baby food in Demeter quality produces a considerable part of its range in a carbon neutral way.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, the concentration of green-house gases in the earth’s atmosphere has reached a record level, especially that of CO2. Demeter baby food pioneer Holle demonstrates that the reduction of green-house gas emissions isn’t a challenge that should be met only by big industrial com-panies. The medium-sized enterprise is the first biodynamic baby food company that has been producing a significant part of its range in a carbon neutral way: the milk cereals and baby porridges since November 2014, the baby milk formula already since 2013.
“The great demand for our carbon neutral infant formula in specialist organic shops shows that new parents appreciate truly sustainably produced baby food. We can now meet this demand with two more product categories”, the Holle management states. Tobias Bandel, climate expert and manager of Soil & More International, says Holle’s commitment is extraordinary: “The company is one of very few that are gradually and unswervingly switching to a carbon neutral production.” It also set an example for other small and medium-sized businesses and showed them how to contribute more to climate protection.
Carbon neutral – from the field to the shelf in the shops
Soil & More is assessing the CO2e emissions of Holle products, taking into account all steps of the value chain – from the field to the shelf in the shop. CO2e stands for global-warming potential. It indicates how much a certain mass of any greenhouse gas accounts for in global warming. In everyday language we also simply call it CO2.
In the cultivation, production and transport of different products, different amounts of CO2 emissions are released. The assessment therefore includes grain cultivation, milk cow feed, and the energy consumed in processing and transport. For the emis-sions assessment, all relevant greenhouse gases are taken into account, such as methane, laughing gas, carbon dioxide and more.
In biodynamic agriculture, there are generally less greenhouse gas emissions than in conventional agriculture. For the Holle Demeter quality infant formula, fewer emis-sions are mainly due to the fact that the milk cow feed is produced in-house. Gentle soil cultivation and avoiding the use of synthetic fertilisers are further contributing to the comparatively low CO2 levels.
Cape Town, Compost, Climate Protection
Holle compensates for the emissions caused in the production process “not simply with CO2 certificates from the anonymous emissions market, but by participating in biodynamic composting projects of Soil & More in Egypt and South Africa”, the man-agement states. Soil & More actively supports biologically sustainable agriculture and operates sites in developing and newly industrialized countries that turn organic waste such as harvest residues, green waste and manure into high-quality compost. This accounts for only a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions released in con-ventional waste disposal through uncontrolled decomposing or burning. In exchange for its contribution to the reduction of the greenhouse effect, Holle receives tradable emission certificates. The emission reduction projects and the emission certificates gained are certified by TÜV Nord Cert GmbH and fulfil the requirements of the Unit-ed Nations.
The Holle management points out that offsetting CO2 emissions on the anonymous certificates market wasn’t a satisfactory option: “Our partner projects in Sekem in Egypt and Reliance in South Africa are based on the idea of a sustainable cycle. Apart from them being agriculture and food production projects, this is what mat-tered most to us when selecting our CO2 compensation projects.” On the Sekem farm in Egypt, 350 000 square meters of desert land are being reclaimed each year for organic farming, that is about the size of 45 football fields. Since mid-2013, Holle has also been acquiring CO2 certificates from the Reliance initiative in South Africa. Here, green waste from Cape Town is turned into high-quality compost. Holle’s commitment to these projects also creates jobs and promotes nature awareness in both countries. “We have a great environmental and social responsibility, originating from the philosophy we have as a company producing Demeter goods”, the Holle management states.
For the baby food producer, however, this achievement in climate protection is no reason to sit back and relax. Even though a considerable part of the Holle range is already being produced in a carbon neutral way, the company is looking to get fur-ther partners and raw material suppliers on board. They are also planning to have the CO2 emissions of more products from their range analysed and compensated for.
About Holle baby food
Holle baby food GmbH makes baby food in organic and biodynamic quality. The company has sites in Riehen (Switzerland) and in Grünsfeld near Tauberbischofsheim (Germany). The product range in-cludes infant formula, baby porridges, jars and fruit and vegetable pouches. Baby weaning oil, teas and snacks complete the extensive range. Holle products are sold in more than 40 countries. The compa-ny, founded in Switzerland in 1933, is the market leader in Germany’s organic specialist retailer seg-ment and a founding member of babyclub.de, with 700 000 visitors a month the most successful inter-net portal for new parents.
Holle baby food GmbH
Viola Hechinger (Management Marketing), firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. +41 (0) 61 555 07 02
Susanna Fieber (Marketing/ Sustainability), email@example.com, Tel. +41 (0) 61 555 07 12
Photo caption: Three product lines are already being produced in a carbon neutral way. (Source: Holle baby food GmbH)