Ecomatters is happy to announce the successful end of its participation in the Food 2020 project! Food 2020 is a European project that prepares the food sector in the Dutch-German border region for the year 2020. It facilitates cross-border cooperation between companies with experts and practical research organizations to stimulate technology transfer and innovation. The overall goal is to gradually build a model for a future-proof food industry in the INTERREG VA region and our part within project fell within the Sustainable food production theme of the general project.
Our role, the participants and its experience
Our involvement consisted of performing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) screening of the food products of food Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in order to provide them with an indication of the environmental impact of their products.
We first engaged Dutch SMEs in the food sector asking them to take part in the Food 2020 project. There was a nice response from different types of enterprises who had an interest in joining the project, and in the end the participants were: a beer brewery, a soup entrepreneur and a seaweed producer.
We got to know these SMEs and their chosen product for the LCA and drafting the models. In corporation we collected the relevant data from the SME’s internal operations, and then was drafted and modelled their systems for the LCA. In August last year, when we thought the project was close to an end according to our initial timeline, we were pleasantly surprised and got contacted by 3 new Dutch SMEs who were interested in joining the project! These SMEs included a catering company and two food packaging companies. The result-sharing session took place with the SMEs and our German partner in the project, DiL, and many expressed enjoyment in participating and getting insights about their products and services.
The assessments included an organic vs non-organic BBQ, a bio-based egg packaging, and certain types of food tray packaging. During the first quarter of 2018, we finalized the LCA screenings and presented the results of our assessments. These SMEs found the screening LCA exercise very interesting, and mentioned how insightful this exercise was, particularly given the results for one of the SMEs were contrary to what they had expected. Another SME expressed their satisfaction with the results and was particularly pleased they could be easily explained to others. Overall, the SMEs enjoyed being part of the FOOD 2020 project, found the experience interesting, and think that the results could be of use for internal purposes within their business in the future.
At the moment, we are awaiting a visit to the production facility of one of the SMEs who kindly invited us to take a look at it! From Ecomatters part, we can consider the project to be finalized. We for sure enjoyed making the screening for these SMEs and supporting them into their sustainability journey and certainly hope to be able to contribute our expertise to more of these projects in the future.