Carbon footprint

Co-products generally have a lower carbon footprint that nutritionally comparable animal feed.

Feeding animals co-products contributes to lowering the carbon footprint per litre of milk or kilo of meat. A number of examples for livestock are offered below. Want to know how feeding co-products can help you to lower the carbon footprint of your meat or milk? Then contact your Sales Manager.

Co2 Dairy cows

What is a carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint is the sum of all greenhouse gas emissions. The most widely known greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

To calculate a carbon footprint, all greenhouse gas emissions are converted into 1 CO2-equivalent (the effect of the emission of 1 kilogramme of CO2, indicated as CO2eq). This way, all greenhouse gas emissions can be added up to calculate a carbon footprint (CO2 emission per tonne of product).

Makeup of a carbon footprint

The entire production process is considered when calculating the carbon footprint, so from crop to end product. A co-product is produced as part of producing foodstuffs or biofuels. International calculation rules stipulate that the CO2 emissions of the cultivation and processing of crops is attributed to the ‘main product’; for instance the chips or the sugar cube. This means that the carbon footprint of a co-product is determined by the CO2 emissions resulting from the transport from the production plant to the livestock farmer. Rumen fermentation is also included as a factor for dairy cattle.

So the CO2 emissions of cultivation and processing are included for crops grown specifically for animal feed, but not for co-products.

An example: makeup of carbon footprint for brewers grains

The carbon footprint for brewers grains consists of the CO2eq emissions resulting from:

  • Growing the raw materials and brewing the beer
    For brewers grains, international calculation rules stipulate that 1% CO2eq emissions of the growth and beer brewing should be attributed to brewers grains. This is an exception with respect to other co-products.
  • Transport from brewer to dairy farmer
  • Rumen fermentation of cow

The shorter the distance between brewer and dairy farmer, the lower the carbon footprint. That is why Duynie Feed attempts to deliver the co-products to dairy farmers located as nearby the brewery as possible. This way, Duynie Feed works with customers and suppliers to achieve lower CO2 emissions.

The emissions as a result of ‘growing raw materials and brewing beer’ and ‘rumen fermentation’ are the same for all transportation distances.


Duynie Group has instructed research agency Blonk Consultants to calculate LCAs for a number of co-products. LCA stands for LifeCycleAnalysis. This is a calculation method aimed at determining the impact of a product or service on the environment. The LCA helps to understand for instance the carbon footprint, the water footprint and the land use of a certain product.

The LCAs have been drawn up in accordance with internationally established calculation rules, laid down in the ‘PEFCR Feed for food producing animals’  and GFLI (Global Metrics for Sustainable Feed). This means that, for all impact categories as described in the PEFCR, the impact is known. You can request a factsheet via the website of our parent company, Duynie Group, to see the main conclusions of the LCA for press pulp, potato co-products and brewers grains. Livestock farmers can contact their Sales Manager.

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