Koskenkorva Vodka Climate Action – the first vodka in the world made from regeneratively farmed barley
Altia’s new Koskenkorva Vodka Climate Action is the world’s first vodka that has been made from regeneratively farmed barley. The new product innovation is the result of Altia’s long-time collaboration with the Baltic Sea Action Group and it takes Altia yet another step closer to the company’s ambitious sustainability goals.
In early 2021, Altia will launch the world’s first vodka made entirely from regeneratively farmed barley. Koskenkorva Vodka Climate Action is the first concrete product that has been developed in the long-time collaboration between Altia, farmer Jari Eerola and the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG). The barley used to make the new vodka has been farmed according to the definition of regenerative farming set out by BSAG’s Carbon Action platform.
Regenerative agriculture is a cultivation method with many benefits. Its goal is to convert fields from emission sources into significant carbon sinks. It also improves the health of the soil, enabling better crops and mitigating land erosion. If all the farmers in the world transitioned to regenerative farming, we could remove up to 322 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. That is nearly as much as we emit globally in 10 years.
“We don’t want to do our work at the expense of our planet. Sustainable barley farming is one of the ways we aim to honour this goal, as barley cultivation is one of the major factors contributing to our carbon footprint. Our collaboration with BSAG enables us to utilize the most up-to-date research findings and best practices,” says Pekka Tennilä, CEO of Altia.
The regeneratively farmed barley has grown on Jari Eerola’s farm
The barley used to make Koskenkorva Vodka Climate Action was farmed at the Setälä-Eerola farm in Tuulos, Hämeenlinna in the summer of 2020. The farming practices used adhered to BSAG’s guidelines on regenerating agriculture: soil coverage is maximized on fields all year round, crop rotation and minimum tilling is applied, and organic fertilizers are used.
The owner of the Setälä-Eerola farm, Jari Eerola, is Altia’s first contract farmer whose estate produces regeneratively farmed barley. During the growing season, barley was farmed on a 15-hectare field area at Setälä-Eerola. This resulted in 50 tonnes of barley for Altia, which will be distilled at the village of Koskenkorva into ethanol, the raw material for Koskenkorva Climate Action vodka.
“In the future, the whole Setälä-Eerola estate will switch to regenerative agriculture, because in the long run it’s the best alternative not only for the climate but also from a financial and productivity perspective. I feel that this is one of the most important moments of my career as a farmer. Through this work, we have the opportunity to be true climate heroes,” says Jari Eerola.
Altia to train all contract farmers in regenerative farming practices
Altia’s goal is that all of its contact farmers would be trained in regenerative farming by 2025. Altia is working together with BSAG in reaching this objective. Altia has been collaborating with BSAG already for the past five years and this fall the company extended its Baltic Sea commitment.
“Training our contract farmers provides us with more opportunities to use regeneratively farmed barley in our production. This is an important prerequisite for making our climate and sustainability objectives a reality. We want to act as a pioneer in our industry and set an example for other companies as well,” Pekka Tennilä states.
BSAG’s Carbon Action platform brings together researchers, farmers and companies to work together to find better ways to store atmospheric CO2 in soil, as well as verify the results scientifically. Developing a carbon calculator for measuring the results of regenerative agriculture is an example of the work conducted on the Carbon Action platform. Launched as a pilot project, the Carbon Action platform has grown into an ongoing co-operation between multiple partners and generated interest also internationally.
“Training Altia’s contract farmers in regenerative agriculture is a significant initiative, which says a lot about the company’s commitment towards more climate-friendly production. We need more actions like this to ensure the vitality of Finnish farming far into the future and to repair the damage inflicted on the soil,” says Michaela Ramm-Schmidt, CEO of BSAG.
Director, Communications and Corporate Relations, Altia Oyj
p. +358 40 767 0867
email. petra.grasbeck [at] altiagroup.com
CEO, Baltic Sea Action Group
p. +358 40 525 0509
email. michaela.ramm-schmidt [at] bsag.fi