On 19 November, the Carbon Action business platform gathered at Valio’s premises in Pitäjänmäki. The platform includes Altia, Apetit, Fazer, SOK and Valio. Speakers at the event were Juha Nousiainen, Director of Valio’s Carbon Neutral Dairy Chain, Kimmo Tiilikainen, State Secretary of the Center Ministerial Group, Jari Liski, Research Professor at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Laura Höijer, BSAG’s Content Director and BSAG’s CEO Michaela Ramm-Schmidt.
Valio’s presentation focused on measures to achieve a carbon-neutral dairy chain. The chain needs to be built around reducing emissions and removing emissions from the atmosphere, and moving from a fossil economy to a circular economy. Collaboration is an essential part of Valio’s goal, and it requires the help of numerous partners.
Grass feed based dairy production can be a part of agriculture’s climate solutions. When done correctly, it also holds potential to increase carbon storage in the field, based on research carried out in the Carbon Action project.
Other important farm-related measures for reaching the climate target include carbon emissions from organic lands, improving manure utilization, reducing animal-based methane emissions, more efficient land use, using renewable energy and investing in barn technologies. Although measures to achieve carbon neutrality are well known, accurate measurement is difficult.
Kimmo Tiilikainen talked about the government’s climate targets and paths to achieve them. Tiilikainen emphasized the importance of long-term comprehensive work in reducing emissions. According to him, instant wins do not exist. Heavy industry plays an important role in the national energy usage. Another area that needs to be significantly improved in terms of emission reduction is transport and, for example, biogas can be a good alternative for heavy transportation. Each industry needs to think about the relevant climate solutions in their field, Valio’s Juha Nousiainen reminded.
When it comes to carbon sequestration, the debate often shifts to the land-use sector and its three pillars of climate action: agricultural land management, sustainable forest production, and land use and wetland activities. These are all relevant to Finland’s objectives. Deforestation is a problem in Finland. In agriculture, solutions must be sought either through farm arrangements or by improving manure processing to reduce clearance pressure. Balancing the emissions with the carbon sinks is essential. There is uncertainty in the development of the sinks, which makes it difficult to anticipate the effects of the measures.
Jari Liski told that the carbon capture verification system development is proceeding rapidly. The first version is expected to be released in the second half of 2020. Liski emphasizes that the development of computational models must be continuous as research data is updated. At theoretical level, the calculation model developed in the context of Carbon Action is globally scalable and in line with the guidelines of the International Climate Panel (IPCC).
Although there is a great need for new and validated research, the results of recent years have shown that measures could already be developed. These measures are being tested, for example, by Carbon Action farmers.
BSAG’s speeches focused on the development of the Carbon Action platform and the activities of the company platform. The platform has been expanded with major projects such as the STN MULTA project funded by the Strategic Research Council and the MAANEUVO project funded by the Support association for soil and water technologies. Interest in the Carbon Action platform has been growing both domestically and internationally. The activities of the company platform have been praised by the participants. In the future, the group has been particularly asked to clarify the roles of companies, support CSR work and popularize research information.