Demonstrating new circular economy business models in the meat supply chain

2 October 2020

DEMO 4 is applying the three business models to the meat supply chain.  The pilot aims to co-create circular economy solutions with all relevant stakeholders, promote sustainable consumption and engage citizens in collaborative reuse and recycling. The DEMO is taking place in the villages of Lorca and Abarán (Region of Murcia, Spain) , was launched in June 2020 and will run until July 2021.

 

Here is how our partner ALIA, an animal feed manufacturer, is putting these business models into practice:

1. Co-Creation

 

Using living lab techniques, ALIA has incorporated sustainability preferences of consumers in the production of two new meat products: pork loin (‘lomo embuchado’) and pork salami (‘salchicha imperial’). In addition, an environmental LCA was performed which concluded that the soybean content in the animal nutrition formula should be reduced. Accordingly, a soybean-free nutrition formula was manufactured. formula should be reduced. Therefore, a free soybean nutritional formula was manufactured.

2. Sustainable consumption

CIRC4Life has developed an indicator Eco-costs which shows the environmental impact of products. This indicator is displayed on some of ALIA’s products and will allow consumers to compare environmental impact at ALIA’s factory’s store and in the local store selling regional products located in Lorca.  Awareness campaigns will be conducted in order to foster sustainable consumption and recruit participants to participate in the pilot.

 

 

3. Collaborative reuse and recycling

Incentives will be given to citizens to foster bio-waste recycling as we believe citizens have a key role to play in the transition to a circular economy. This is why we encourage them to bring their bio-waste to the intelligent bin or dedicated container. In return for their eco-friendly behaviour, they will earn Eco-credits and receive an incentive such as a ticket to the theatre or to other cultural events.

 

The collected biowaste will be transformed into high value products: compost, organic fertilizers, insects feeding, which can then be used for other industries. The final use of the collected biowaste will be decided together with the H2020 LIVERUR project, which will implement living lab techniques in order to decide the most appropriate use for it. In addition, by-products from other industries (such as flour made out of biscuit manufacturing rejects) are used as an ingredient in the animal feed product, and slurry from the whole production process is used by the meat sector and by other activity sectors such as the cosmetics industry.

 

Finally, a social Life Cycle Analysis was conducted on ALIA’s products (using 1kg of pork salami and 1kg of pork loin) which showed that ALIA’s products are about 30% more socially sustainable than the average Spanish meat product. A number of social indicators for each sector were assessed such as: Fair salary, Working time, Discrimination, Health and Safety, Workers´ rights, Fair competition, Supplier relationships, Contribution to economic development, Access to material resources, Safe and healthy living conditions, Local employment, Health and Safety and End of life responsibility.

 

It is worth mentioning that the gender wage gap in ALIA’s plant is 33% better and the working time is 37% better compared to other meat products plants in Spain.  There are clear salary bands per category and no difference is made between men and women. The CSR company plan has a whole section dedicated to gender equality and promotes the active recruitment of women.

 

Concerning the Safety measures, it is 32% better than in companies in the same sector, as there is an active enforcement of safety measures and regular training programmes for workers.

 

On worker’s rights, the situation of Free Trade Unionism is 26% better than the average as there are three different trade unions which workers can affiliate to and usually there is only one Trade Union.

 

Finally, the Fair Salary indicator shows that it is 24% better than in the other companies in the same sector as all salaries follow what is stipulated in the wage agreement, and 100% of the workers that are with the company for over a year have obtained a permanent contract.

 

For more information: https://www.circ4life.eu/demo4

For more information about Alia’s work (in Spanish): www.alia.es/idi 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 776503. The views and opinions expressed in this website are purely those of the writers and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission.