Novozymes and agriculture in partnership for climate

Climate Consortium Denmark, the Danish Agricultural Council, and Novozymes bring agriculture's contribution to solutions for the climate challenge into focus. The aim is to highlight the role that Denmark's strong competencies in biotechnology can play.

In the run-up to COP15 this strategic partnership will highlight the modern and efficient agricultural production practices.

The Danish Agricultural Council and Novozymes have a concrete goal, to develop a vision jointly for how the use of biotechnological solutions can make both agriculture and the food industry more effective and sustainable. The partnership also includes Climate Consortium Denmark, which aims to increase the visibility of Danish solutions and competencies for both climate and energy as well as to raise international awareness of the common efforts through various activities.

Finn Mortensen, Executive Director of Climate Consortium Denmark, underlines the importance of Danish Agricultural Council and Novozymes now forming a united front to focus on Denmark’s food industry and the future opportunities to be found in biotechnology. "Denmark is a world leader within bioenergy, and we have shown over the last decades that by thinking both long term and green we can produce CO2-free energy."

Great potential
Biotechnology is already providing solutions for agriculture. One example is enzymes for animal feed. If all the pigs in Europe were given feed supplemented with these enzymes, their digestion would be improved to such an extent that CO2 emissions in Europe would be reduced by 4 million tons per year. Other enzymes enable the prevention of oxygen depletion in lakes and rivers that is currently caused by the leaching of phosphorus from manure.

Novozymes is also working to develop microorganisms and environmentally efficient technologies for maximizing the energy yield from agricultural manure for the production of electricity, heat, and transport as well as high-quality fertilizer. In Denmark we convert less than 5% of agricultural manure into energy in the form of biogas. Of this 5%, only 50% of the available energy is utilized. The Danish Board of Technology estimates that if the entire energy content of the manure was utilized, it would supply 25% of the energy requirements of the transport sector.

According to Nickie Spile, Vice President of Region Europe, Novozymes, agriculture and biotechnology are in many ways two sides of the same coin. “Both take nature as their starting point and both use biological principles and processes to produce food, feed, energy, and various biomaterials in a sustainable fashion," she says. "By combining these two, we can realize the great potential to make the world more sustainable."

Claus Søgaard-Richter, Director General, Danish Agricultural Council, also sees great opportunities in the coming partnership. "By combining the strengths of both agriculture and the food industry with biotechnology, Denmark can continue to produce quality food products that meet the needs of the society while reducing climate change and environmental impact. We are talking about solutions to the very real and current global challenges," he says.

The results will be presented at COP15 this December
The starting point for the partnership is May 27 in Copenhagen, where the Danish Agricultural Council together with IFAP, the International Federation of agriculture Producers, will host a global climate summit, Climate Change – Farmers' Solutions. Subsequently, a wide range of experts, researchers, international food producers, and decision-makers will help to develop the vision that will be presented at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December, COP15, as the Danish food industry’s recommendation concerning more efficient and climate-friendly production of food.