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Looking much beyond enhanced energy efficiency to driving decarbonization in vegetable oil production

Date

02 Jun 2023

Sections

Energy
Climate & Environment

Brussels, 2 June 2023 – On the occasion of FEDIOL’s annual conference, dedicated to Innovation and Decarbonisation, members and stakeholders discussed tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The food system being responsible for a significant share of the total GHG emissions, decarbonisation is imperative and the industry crushing oilseeds and refining vegetable oils is tackling emissions from its own activities (scope 1 and 2).

Although, we may not be at the centre of attention in the debate on energy and carbon, our production processes are energy intensive and require large volumes of heat and electricity”, explained Jordi Costa, the President of FEDIOL and he went on saying: “Companies in our sector for more than ten years have already made efforts to decarbonize their activities through investments in enhanced energy efficiency and through enhanced use of biomass that becomes available as side stream during the processing of our raw materials.” Whereas it may still be possible to improve energy performance, significant reductions of CO2 emissions will require access to renewable electricity and heat allowing to reach temperatures up to 250° C.

Manufacturing of vegetable oils is vital for EUs food security and for the safety of the food and feed that is produced. The products, oils and proteinmeals are essential nutrients that will continue being relevant components for human and animal nutrition.

At sector-level, within our association, there is value added in enhancing collective intelligence and sharing experience or best practices. The sector-wide monitoring carried out with FEDIOL member companies about their GHG emissions over the period 2019-2022, delivered data, which will serve as a starting for future efforts. Achieving emission reductions is work in progress.

The industry also discussed addressing scope 3 emissions, in particular those of arable farming. The panel discussion on this gave insights into best practices to improve carbon farming, but also the challenges faced by farmers who are keen to have a broader approach, in which the co-benefits of carbon storage in the soil (biodiversity, water,…) can be considered as strategic as carbon.

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FEDIOL, the EU vegetable oil and proteinmeal industry association, represents the interests of the European oilseed crushers, vegetable oil refiners and bottlers. FEDIOL members are 10 national associations and associated company members in 7 other EU countries. With about 180 facilities in Europe, the sector provides 20,000 direct employments. Its members process approximately 55 million tonnes of basic products a year, both of EU origin and imported from third country markets. The sector processes notably rapeseed, sunflower seed, soybeans and linseed into oils and meals for food, feed, technical and energy uses essentially on the European market.

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