Altia calculated the carbon footprint of Koskenkorva Vodka – packaging and barley cultivation carry the greatest impact
Altia has calculated the carbon footprint of Koskenkorva Vodka. The majority of carbon dioxide emissions during the life-cycle of Koskenkorva Vodka derive from the product’s packaging and from the cultivation of the barley used as an ingredient in the vodka. The energy-efficient Koskenkorva distillery’s proportion of the carbon footprint is relatively small.
The carbon footprint of Koskenkorva Vodka packaged in a glass bottle is 2.19 kg CO2e/litre, while that of Koskenkorva Vodka packaged in a PET plastic bottle is 1.60 kg CO2e/litre.
If these emissions are put in proportion with the common point of comparison – i.e. driving a car – the emission of 2.19 kg CO2e is equal to driving a distance of slightly more than 14 kilometres in a passenger car, while the emission of 1.60 CO2e is equal to driving a distance of slightly more than 10 kilometres.
Packaging materials have a big impact on carbon footprint
Packaging materials have a big impact on carbon footprints. The carbon footprint of Koskenkorva Vodka packaged in a recyclable PET plastic bottle is approximately 27% smaller than that of the product packaged in a glass bottle. The package accounts for 43% of the product’s entire carbon footprint in terms of a glass bottle and 24% in terms of a PET bottle.
The cultivation of the barley used as an ingredient in the vodka is, alongside the packaging, one of the two biggest sources of the product’s carbon dioxide emissions. Barley accounts for 40% of Koskenkorva Vodka’s entire carbon footprint in terms of a glass bottle and 54% in terms of a PET bottle.
“The results of the carbon footprint calculation provide us with important data for the further development of our environmental responsibility work. We were expecting the packaging to account for a significant proportion of the emissions, and the reduction of the carbon footprint of beverage packages is indeed becoming one of the key topics in our packaging design,” says Hannamari Koivula, Altia’s Corporate Responsibility Manager.
“We also expected the share of barley to be high, and we are participating in the Carbon Action research initiative to reduce it. The initiative studies ways by which to sequester carbon in the soil with more efficient cultivation methods and, thereby, mitigate climate change,” says Koivula.
Distillery’s proportion of the carbon footprint relatively small
The energy-efficient Koskenkorva distillery’s proportion of the carbon footprint of Koskenkorva Vodka is, at 10%–14%, relatively small. An increase in the use of renewable fuel has reduced the distillery’s environmental impact. The distillery’s own bioenergy power plant uses barley hulls as fuel and produces steam energy for the distillery’s needs. The distillery’s carbon dioxide emissions have halved since the bioenergy power plant started up in late 2014.
Thanks to the bioenergy power plant, the distillery’s use of bio-fuels in energy production has increased from 24% (in 2014) to approximately 60% (in 2018), which has reduced the carbon footprint of Koskenkorva Vodka in a glass bottle by 5% and in a PET bottle by 7%. The bio- and circular economy of the Koskenkorva distillery were recognised with the Drinks Business Green Company of the Year award presented to Altia last year.
Recycled materials and lighter packages can reduce environmental impact
Altia is in the process of drawing up a new long-term responsibility plan, in which the reduction of the environmental impact of beverage packages is one of the key objectives.
“We want to reduce the carbon footprint related to packaging. The results of the carbon footprint calculation provide us with important data for this development work. If the proportion of recycled glass in glass bottles can be increased, for example, it will reduce the package’s carbon footprint. In some products, such as in Blossa glöggs, we’ve already managed to reduce the weight of the glass bottle significantly, and this is what we’ll be aiming at with other products as well,” says Koivula.
Heading towards the measurement of emissions throughout life-cycles
A carbon footprint indicates the amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated during a product’s life-cycle. Koskenkorva Vodka is the first product for which Altia has calculated a carbon footprint. The carbon footprint was calculated as part of the product’s broader life-cycle analysis, which reviewed the product’s environmental impact during its journey from a barley field to the retailer (Alko). The calculation also accounts for the final recycling of the product’s packaging. Altia intends to extend the carbon footprint calculation to other products as well, in the near future.
“The review of emissions has shifted, to an increasing degree, from mere production to the emissions during a product’s entire life-cycle. We’ve measured the carbon dioxide emissions of our plants for a long time now, and want to expand the calculation to the product level. We aim to reduce not only the carbon dioxide emissions of our plants, but of our products, throughout their life-cycles. To be able to achieve this, we have to have a precise data on what the emissions are composed of,” says Koivula.
The table below shows the impact that different factors have on the carbon footprint of Koskenkorva Vodka (40% vol):
|Koskenkorva Vodka glass bottle||Koskenkorva Vodka PET plastic bottle|
|amount of emissions, kg CO2e/litre||% of total emissions||amount of emissions, kg CO2e/litre||% of total emissions|
|Rajamäki alcoholic beverage plant||0.039||2%||0.039||2%|
|Other ingredients/raw materials||0.026||1%||0.026||2%|
|Distribution to retailer (Alko)||0.001||0%||0.000||0%|
|End-of-life of packaging||0.056||3%||0.004||0%|
The life-cycle analysis and carbon footprint calculation of Koskenkorva Vodka was carried out for Altia by Gaia Consulting Oy.
Hannamari Koivula, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Altia, tel. +358 40 581 9921, hannamari.koivula [at] altiagroup.com
Background document & summary of the results concerning the carbon footprint calculation of Koskenkorva Vodka