HKScan Corporation, Press release, 26 February 2021

The good water resources of the Baltic Sea region provide a significant competitive advantage in food production compared to many other countries. The water footprint is an indicator that helps describe the water use impacts in food production. The AWARE method assesses water scarcity impacts. Water use is measured in relation to the water availability in the production region, which makes it possible to compare the impacts of water use in different regions. In practice, the production of the same food product in water-stressed regions results in a higher water footprint. On the other hand, the use of the same amount of water in a water-abundant region leads to lower water footprints.

HKScan was the first in the world to introduce the AWARE method in the water footprint calculation of poultry production. According to a recent result, the water footprint of Kariniemen's pilot farm chickens was 0.58 m3 AWARE/ carcass weight kg. Most of the life cycle impacts of the water footprint are formed in the feed chain. The water footprint was calculated using the 2019 figures of broiler production.

The AWARE method used in the calculation is of high quality. This rather new method has been included, for example, in the calculation guidelines of the EU’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) to assess the product-specific water scarcity impact. The use of the method is increasing worldwide. 

“It is characteristic of the water scarcity impact that the variation in the results within a product group is much larger than, for example, in the carbon footprint. From a consumer’s perspective, it is very good that companies are examining the water scarcity impacts of their production chains even though there are hardly any benchmarks yet. Knowing your own chain is the first step on the road to development, ” says Kirsi Usva, researcher at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) who conducted the calculation.

Responsibility is continuous improvement

At HKScan, responsibility means genuine action throughout the value chain. It is a key part of the strategy and continuous improvement. Environmental footprints are important indicators for identifying and reducing environmental impacts. 

“As far as we know, we are the first company in the world to introduce the AWARE water footprint methodology in the water footprint calculation of poultry production. In the HKScan’s market areas, there are clean and abundant water resources enabling sustainable primary production. Our great advantage is that there is no need to artificially irrigate the fields. Domestic meat is a responsible choice also in terms of the water footprint," emphasises Ulf Jahnsson, HKScan’s VP, Strategic development primary production. 

Due to the novelty of the AWARE method, the results on the water footprints of different foods are still limited. An interesting result can be found in the study on the climate impact calculation and water footprint of greenhouse products:  the AWARE-based water footprint of Spanish tomatoes was found to be about 91 times higher than in Finland.

Jahnsson continues that the HKScan Agrofood Ecosystem® network promotes the resource efficiency of field farming.

“The carbon and water footprints are reduced by raising the yield level of the field. We do this work together with our contract farmers and partners.”


Further information:
Kirsi Usva, researcher, the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), 
tel. +358 2953 266 21,

Ulf Jahnsson, VP, Strategic development primary production, HKScan,
tel. +358 400 784 193,

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is a research and expert organization with expertise in renewable natural resources and sustainable food production. Through research, we create value and solutions for our customers by solving local and global challenges. Our strengths are in sustainable  production and use of natural resources and thorough knowledge of bio-based raw materials.

At HKScan, we make life tastier – today and tomorrow. Our strategic target is to grow into a versatile food company. Our responsibly produced, delicious products are part of consumers’ varied food moments – both every day and on special occasions. We have some 7,000 HKScan professionals applying more than 100 years of experience to make locally produced food. For us at HKScan, responsibility means continuous improvements and concrete actions throughout the food chain. As part of our Zero Carbon programme, we are targeting a carbon-neutral food chain from farms to consumers by the end of 2040. Our home markets cover Finland, Sweden, the Baltics and Denmark. Our strong product brands include HK®, Kariniemen®, Via®, Scan®, Pärsons®, Rakvere®, Tallegg® and Rose™. Through our strategic partnerships, we are also known for Kivikylän®, Tamminen® and Boltsi brands. HKScan is a publicly listed company, and in 2020, our net sales totalled nearly EUR 1.8 billion.