Overview of publications & reports
Publications: reports, articles
On a regular bases Blonk Consultants publish public reports, articles and tools. In the overview below you will find our publications over the last years.
The applicability of LCA guidelines to model the effects of feed additives on the environmental footprint of animal production
This study explores, from a methodological standpoint, the applicability of sector LCA guidelines (FAO LEAP and/or EC PEF) to model nutritional interventions based on the use of feed additives. To that end, the effects on animal performance of a diverse set of nutritional interventions (n=14 in total) including the use of feed enzymes, vitamins, carotenoids, and eubiotics have been documented via an extensive literature review (along with the FAO LEAP Guidelines for feed additives) and further translated into potential effects observable at farm level. Three terrestrial target species were studied: broiler chickens, dairy cows, and fattening pigs. The reference systems were Dutch and Belgian. The methodological exploration was reviewed by external experts with respect to ISO 14044 requirements for LCA. The study verifies the applicability of the available sector LCA guidelines to evaluate nutritional interventions improving animal productivity, animal health, lifetime performance or emissions. It confirms the potential of nutritional interventions, and feed additives in particular, to improve the footprint of animal production. This study is a joint methodological investigation by Blonk and DSM Nutritional Products. Download report
Towards a sustainable, healthy and affordable Belgian diet (WWF BE)
WWF launched the European Eat4Change project to make young Europeans aware of ways to develop and adopt a healthier and more sustainable diet. Our current food system has a substantial environmental impact. With Eat4Change, WWF wants to make food production more sustainable, combat biodiversity loss and tackle the climate crisis. As part of this European project, on behalf of WWF Belgium, we analysed which products fit in a sustainable healthy diet for a family of four. We did this using our software tool Optimeal. The results show that a sustainable and healthy diet is also a little cheaper than the average Belgian's current dietary pattern. Download report
2019 & 2020
Environmental performance of beet sugar production in the Netherlands
Carbon Footprint impact Vegetarian Top Dishes Campaign 2019
In 2019 the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, Albert Heijn supermarket chain and Unilever organised the sixth ‘Doe Maar Lekker …’ campaign. In this campaign the public were encouraged to replace meat with a meat substitute or other vegetarian option. At the end of October all the participants of the National Postcode Lottery received a gift voucher worth €12.50 to exchange for the ingredients to make a meal for four. Replacing meat with a meat substitute or other vegetarian alternative has a positive climate impact. Blonk Consultants have calculated the reduction in CO2 emissions resulting from the campaign using the life cycle assessment (LCA) method. Download report
PEFCR - Feed for food producing animals (European Commission)
The feed PEFCR is the first PEFCR to be officially approved. During the development of the feed PEFCR, Blonk Consultants supported the Technical Secretariat of the PEF pilot on ‘Feed for Food producing Animals’, chaired by FEFAC, the European Feed Manufacturers' Federation. This involved all the technical work needed to define the representative product, the screening study and drafting the PEFCR. View the PEFCR - Feed for food producing animals
PEFCR - Beer (European Commission)
The PEFCR for beer was officially approved by the European Commission in Brussels on 20 April 2018. During the development of this standard the beer industry was supported by Blonk Consultants and Bocconi University. The Brewers of Europe (industry federation) chaired the process. For the PEFCR we performed a life cycle assessment (LCA) of ‘European beer’ and, with various brewers, we carried out a number of case studies and developed datasets and the model. Finally, we co-authored the definitive PEFCR for beer. View the PEFCR - Beer
Facts & Figures – Environmental impact of foods
We believe that making the agri-food sector and society more sustainable and healthier begins with accurate and clear information. Over the years we have collected a lot of information and carried out many studies into the environmental impact of agricultural produce and foods. We are also frequently asked to share what we have learned – which is why we are happy to publish a number of key figures. Learn more
Sustainability of plant trays analysed (Royal FloraHolland)
Royal FloraHolland is a cooperative of breeders and growers of plants and cut flowers. More than 90% of the trade in cut flowers and plants in the Netherlands goes via Royal FloraHolland. The plants are transported in various types of plant trays. To provide the sector with information about the sustainability of these trays, Royal FloraHolland commissioned a study by Blonk Consultants. The environmental performance of the trays was identified in a life cycle assessment (LCA) covering the whole supply chain. Read more
Seafood Life Cycle Inventory database - Methodology and Principles and Data Quality Guidelines (Norwegian Seafood Industry)
To make high-quality, representative data on the resource use and environmental impacts caused by seafood products (including biomass used directly or indirectly for feed) available, the Norwegian seafood industry initiated a pilot project. The project defined a recommended method and structure for data collection and used this method to collect available data for a number of pilot cases. The method for data collection is presented in this document and can, together with the pilot data sets made available through the project, be used by the industry as a basis for a broader data collection to create an expanded seafood LCI database. Blonk Consultants has teamed with RISE Agrifood and Bioscience, SINTEF and Dalhousie University to develop the LCA Seafood Database. Learn more
Beverage Industry Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Sector Guidance (BIER)
The Beverage Industry Sector Guidance document was developed through a collaborative effort of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER). The purpose of the document is to provide beverage companies with supplemental guidance specific to the sector, which supports beverage companies with alignment to global GHG reporting protocols and more granular guidance to drive additional consistency, accuracy, and leadership across the sector. Download the guidance
Eating for 2 degrees - New and updated Livewell Plates | WWF UK
Our food system is a driving force for climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss. We helped WWF UK to update the WWF Livewell guidelines. These guidelines show how our diets can relieve the pressure on nature and keep global warming below 2 degrees. Read report 'Eating for 2 degrees' - New and updated Livewell Plates | WWF
Agri-footprint Performance Report - HumVi
Recently the environmental impact of HumVi (a product of Vitens) has been evaluated. The results are presented in an ‘Agri-footprint® Performance Report’. This report shows why a product is a front runner in the field of sustainability. Furthermore, the Agri-footprint® Performance Report presents the environmental performance of a specific product in a visual, clear and attractive format. So, it is ready to be used as a communication tool on sustainability of a specific product. Learn more about Agri-footprint Performance Report of HumVi
Methodology of the EC Feed Database
This document describes the methodology and data sources applied for deriving the EC feed LCI dataset (full name "feed" process-based product environmental footprint-compliant life cycle inventory datasets). It merges the methodological requirements from the EC tender specifications [ENV.A.1/SER/2016/0035VL], the most recent guidelines document (European Commission, 2017) and the latest version of the draft feed PEFCR (Technical Secretatiat for the Feed pilot, 2015). Download Methodology Report
Natural capital & protein crops: Protein selection chart
Commissioned by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and Vivera (producer of vegetarian products) Blonk Consultants developed a 'Protein selection chart'. In order to develop meat substitutes and hybride products (vegetable) protein sources are needed. Each vegetable protein source has different characteristics. Insights in these characteristics are important to be able to make conscious decisions regarding raw material policies and natural capital. The Protein Selection Chart gives this information. It is an overview of the various financial, environmental and technical aspects of 10 new sources of vegetable proteins, cultivated in the Netherlands. Learn more about the 'Protein Selection Chart'
Putting sustainable diets into practice
In Food, Science & Technology Gerard Kramer and Hans Blonk describe how food and beverage companies can implement the concept of sustainable diets into product development to future-proof their product portfolio. Understanding the balance between environmental impact and nutritional value is key in this process. Read article
Menu for Tomorrow
For the Dutch environmental organisation Natuur & Milieu Blonk Consultants investigated what such a healthy and sustainable diet would be for the Netherlands. The result is the Menu for Tomorrow, which provides a considerable reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and a smaller claim on scarce natural resources. Read more
Environmental impact of dairy substitution
Commissioned by the Dutch Dairy Association (Nederlandse Zuivel Organisatie, NZO) Blonk Consultants researched the environmental impact of the substitution of milk, yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products in our diet. Read more
Agri-footprint® Performance Report - Meatless
Recently the environmental impact of Meatless has been evaluated. The results are presented in an ‘Agri-footprint® Performance Report’. This report shows why a product is a front runner in the field of sustainability. Furthermore, the Agri-footprint Performance Report presents the environmental performance of a specific product in a visual, clear and attractive format. Read more
Life Cycle Assessment of milk and cheese
For FrieslandCampina Blonk Consultants carried out a life cycle assessment (LCA) of semi-skimmed milk and semi-matured Gouda cheese. FrieslandCampina is a member of the consortium developing the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) with the European Dairy Association (EDA). Read more
Replacement of soybean meal in compound feed by European protein sources
Wageningen UR Livestock Research and Blonk Consultants have investigated if soybean products from South American can be replaced by protein sources produced in Europe in a sustainable way. Based on data from literature, and based on the systematics of the FeedPrint programme, the nutritional value and the Carbon footprint (CFP) of these protein sources is determined. These protein sources are used in feed optimizations of a starter diet for pigs, thereby maintaining the nutritional value of the diet. Subsequently, the Carbon footprint of the grower diet is calculated. Download report
Carbon footprint of animal feed
The Dutch Product Board for Animal Feeds (PDV) and the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture commissioned Blonk Consultants and WUR for the project “Carbon Footprint of Animal Nutrition”. The primary goal of this project was that stakeholders gain insight in the greenhouse gas emissions of the animal feed production chain. Blonk Consultants gathered the primary and secondary data about cultivation and industrial processing. The results are described in the following reports: Cultivation Readers guidance cultivation reports Cultivation of grains Cultivation of oil seeds Cultivation of legumes Cultivation of roots and tubers Cultivation of other seeds and fruits Cultivation of forage and roughage Cultivation of other plants Background report on fertilizer production Industrial processing Readers guidance processing reports Animal products Bio-ethanol industry Crushing industry Dry milling industry Sugar industry Wet milling industry Other products There is also a methodology document for quantification of the greenhouse gas emissions of the production and utilization of animal feeds, as has been used in the tool: Feedprint. Methodology Report
Differences between the carbon footprint of Danish pork in the JRC and Aarhus studies
According to a study by Aarhus University (Nguyen et al., 2011), the carbon footprint for Danish pork is 3.1–3.4 kg CO2-eq per kg pork (carcass weight). This figure is significantly different from the carbon footprint calculated by the JRC (Leip, et al., 2010), which is 5.0 kg CO2-eq per kg pork. The aim of this review is to explain the differences in the carbon footprint of Danish pork calculated by the JRC and Aarhus University. The review was commissioned by the Danish Agriculture and Food Council and accompanied by Danske Slagterier. The review was carried out by Blonk Consultants. Download review
Guess what‘s cooking in France, Spain and Sweden?
Throughout Europe diets are changing, and they’re impacting people and planet: this is, in a nutshell, the conclusion of the first report produced for the LiveWell for LIFE project. The report, prepared by The Dutch Nutrition Centre (Voedingscentrum) and Blonk Consultants, investigates the eating behaviours in Spain, France and Sweden – the project’s pilot countries. It then compares these findings to what the people in these countries should be eating, according to their national dietary guidelines and answers the following questions:
What are the characteristics of the current diets and how does it compare to the traditional diets?
What are the health issues connected to the present diet and their associated costs?
What will happen in the future if business as usual continues?
Results from this report show that current dietary habits in Spain, France and Sweden have progressed from traditional food patterns towards more average Western diets, with too little wholegrain cereals, legumes, fruit and vegetables. Intake of red meat and high-calorie processed foods has increased.
In the next stage of the LiveWell for LIFE project we will be using this information along with greenhouse gas emission data to develop the LiveWell Plate – a tool that can demonstrate what sustainable diets could look like for different European countries.
Green grass: sustainable soccer
The environmental impacts of the various stages in the lifespan of natural grass sports fields (from the production and processing of the grass seed to the construction, maintenance and renovation of the field) were determined by carrying out a life cycle assessment (LCA). The study shows that the biggest contribution to the environmental impact (80–90%) is made by the annual maintenance activities, mainly from the use of diesel fuel and synthetic fertilisers. The study shows that the environmental impact of natural grass sports fields can be considerably improved by reducing the use of synthetic fertilisers, switching to other types of fertiliser, and using different machinery, such as electric mowers. The project was carried out by Blonk Consultants for Plantum and was partly financed by the Dutch Commodity Board for Arable Products (Productschap Akkerbouw). The study was supervised by a steering committee of representatives from the grass sports fields sector and reviewed by two experts. A further output of the study is a calculation tool for use by Plantum members to calculate the environmental impact of the life cycle of a grass sports field and determine the effects of measures taken to improve the environmental impact. Download Management Summary Download brochure
Case Studies for more insight into the methodology and composition of Carbon footprints of table potatoes and chips
In September 2009, the governing board of the Commodity Board for Arable Products decided to carry out a study to identify and specify the rules needed for calculating the Carbon footprints of processed potato products. This decision was taken in line with the similar steps already taken by the Commodity Board for Horticulture (PT) and the Product Board for Animal Feed (PDV). The aim was to adapt the general rules for Carbon footprinting to obtain specifications for arable farming and the processing of arable products, based on two case studies on potato products. This report presents the results of the case studies on chips and table potatoes, which were carried out in cooperation with the industry associations and participating companies. The data needed for the analysis were provided by a chip factory and a potato trading company, representing the industry and trade sectors respectively. The study was carried out by Blonk Environmental Consultants ( Blonk Milieu Advies) for the Dutch Commodity Board for Arable Products (Productschap Akkerbouw). Download report
Measuring sustainable and healthy diets
Our diets, or food consumption patterns, have a significant impact on the environment as well as on our health. To reduce this impact, it is important first to gain a clear understanding of the methods available to quantify these impacts and of the degree of harmonization between the methods. The aim of this study was to review these methods and the data used to assess the environmental and health aspects of food consumption patterns. This report presents the results of a literature review of about fifty publications on the environmental and/or health impacts of food consumption patterns. We concentrated on studies carried out within Europe (more than 80% of the studies analysed). We analysed the methods and tools used to quantify environmental effects, the way health aspects of diets are described and quantified, how present food consumption patterns are defined and the types of data used. The review method and draft findings were discussed with experts during two web conferences. Download report
Environmental impact of synthetic amino acid production
Novozymes is working on LCA’s to calculate the environmental impact of using enzyme technology in a wide range of industries, including the animal feed industry. At this moment, Novozymes is performing a study on the use of a protease to improve the nutritional value of feed for broilers. For this study LCA information is needed about essential amino acids that are widely used in animal feed: L-lysine, DL-methionine and L-threonine. This document describes the survey to obtain this information and the resulting environmental impact figures concerning the three amino acids performed by Blonk Consultants. Download report
2010 and earlier
Evaluation of Transforum initiatives
Between 2004 and 2010 TransForum participated in more than thirty projects to improve the sustainability of agro-production. As this period draws to an end, TransForum wants to review and assess the sustainability performance of the projects they were involved in. Blonk Consultants evaluated the sustainability performances of 9 initiatives. In order to do so, we have developed a unique methodology. This methodology is presented in a methodology report.The method is based on a consistent framework that builds on several important existing methodologies and standards, such as life cycle assessment (LCA), environmental impact assessment (EIA) and global reporting of sustainability (GRI). It consists of an extensive set of indicators and a method for scoring these indicators. We are confident that the chosen approach gives accurate results for the most important indicators in our method. For some indicators, the approach needs to be developed further. Download methodology report
Assessing carbon footprints of horticultural products
In 2008 and 2009 Blonk Consultants, Agro Information Partners and LEI-WUR (Agricultural Economic Research Institute) developed a methodology, a protocol and a calculation tool for assessing carbon footprints of horticultural products. The project was commissioned by Productschap Tuinbouw (Dutch Product Board for Horticulture) and Ministerie van LNV (Dutch Ministry of Agriculture). This resulted in a report including analysis and recommendations of state of the art methodologies, which was published in early 2009. However, international accessibility of the report was limited, because it was written in Dutch. Many requests to translate the report into English resulted in the present translated report. Download report
Environmental effects of protein rich products
Blonk Consultants and the Nederlandse Vegetariërsbond (Dutch Vegetarian Association) have studied the consequences of substituting vegetable proteins for animal proteins in the Dutch diet of protein-rich food products. Our research focused on the environmental impacts: the greenhouse effect and land use activities, with possible biodiversity impacts. With regard to the animal welfare issue we quantified the animals kept according to different substitution scenario’s. Download English summary
Greenhouse gas emissions of meat
In summer 2007 the Foundation for Sustainability in the Food Chain (DuVo) established a working group on meat products and sustainability issues. The participants in this group are: VION Food Group, Van Drie Group, Nutreco, Cehave, Albert Hein, ZLTO, Unilever and CBL (the Dutch food retail trade organization). This group launched a study on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of meat products with the following aims:
- To provide insights into calculating the GHG emissions and scores for meat products.
- To identify methodological issues that affect the outcome of GHG calculations.
- To define a follow-up process for collecting and disseminating GHG emissions data on meat production.
Carbon footprint of conventional and organic pork
The contribution of the animal production chain to the worldwide anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions has become an important issue in the Netherlands and internationally. The FAO publication “World’s Livestock Long Shadow” (Steinfeld e.a., 2006) made many people aware of the scale of the current contribution and the consequences of an expected doubling of meat and dairy consumption. Also the industry realizes the importance of reducing the greenhouse gas emission from food production chains. The present report is the result of a study that responds to the demand for more insight in the contribution of greenhouse gas emissions from processes and activities in the animal production chain, by focusing on conventional and organic pork from Denmark, England, Germany and the Netherlands. A consortium was initiated consisting of the Dutch public and private parties VION De Groene Weg, Biologica, ZLTO, the Dutch Ministry for Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety (LNV), and Cehave Landbouwbelang to commission the present project. The project’s research was done by Blonk Consultants(project management), Wageningen UR Livestock Research, Wageningen UR LEI, and Wageningen UR Applied Plant Research. Download report