The key ingredients in Altia’s alcoholic beverage production are the grain spirit distilled from Finnish barley, and pure groundwater. Altia’s Commitment goal is to promote sustainable agriculture together with the contract farmers, while reducing water use in production.
Altia is a major buyer of domestic barley in Finland, with 1500 contract farmers cultivating an area totaling 50 000 hectares. The figure corresponds to approximately 2,5 percent of Finland’s cultivated fields. Altia strives to be mindful of the impact of its activities on the Baltic Sea and other waterbodies. Therefore, Altia’s Commitment plays a significant role in the efforts aimed at helping out the Baltic Sea. However, well-managed fields that minimize nutrient leakages also produce a higher yield level for the farmers.
One of the main practical aspects of the Commitment is to offer contract farmers support and a tool to help them maintain the correct nutrient balance by providing them information about the phosphorous and nitrogen levels of the barley loads they have supplied to Altia. Farmers can then utilize this information to optimize cultivation practices, which leads to a decrease in nutrient leakages.
In addition, Altia has organized informative events for farmers and provided them with information on how to promote sustainable cultivation methods.
“The Commitment has been a success for everyone involved, and the dialogue with the farmers has been fruitful,” said Kari Kiltilä, Category Sourcing Manager at Altia.
The second objective in the Commitment, i.e., reducing water usage, has also been well implemented. By focusing on the optimized use and quality of the production equipment, water consumption has decreased, and waste water quality has improved. In addition, an investment in Altia’s Estonian plant in 2015 will reduce water consumption even further in the future.
All good things must come to an end, they say. Thankfully, they are not always right. For even though Altia’s Commitment will officially end at the end of 2017, there’s no end in sight for Altia’s efforts towards more sustainable agriculture.