a versatile sustainable crop

Rapeseed – an important raw material for AAK

Today, rapeseed oil is an important vegetable oils used in food as well as biodiesel. Rapeseed has become the oil plant of Northern Europe. Outside Europe, the dominant producers are Canada, China and Australia.

Rapeseed production continues to be impacted by multiple factors, drought and excessive rains, as well as regulatory related reduction in use of plant protection products. Rapeseed is a very important raw material for AAK and is one of a few raw materials that AAK is crushing in its own facilities. 

Understanding our supply base

In order to deepen our understanding of the global rapeseed (canola) industry, AAK has commissioned Proforest to conduct a risk analysis for this supply chain. The findings revealed that, relative to other vegetable oils processed by AAK, the production of oilseed rape does not have sustainability issues such as deforestation, human rights abuses or significant farmer livelihood challenges. At most points of origin, sustainability impacts related to rapeseed production are mitigated to some extent by good agricultural practices, supported by legal frameworks and environmental incentive schemes in AAK’s main sourcing origins. 

At AAK, we use Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) to analyze the impact of our rapeseed supply chains globally, but also in comparison to other oil crops. With full insight into the climate impact of our supply chains we can work towards minimizing that impact and offer our customers the best solutions.  These studies have shown that the environmental impacts of rapeseed are strongly correlated with the amount and type of fertilizer used, relative to the yield of crop. AAK will use these insights from Proforest to set ambitions for the work around rapeseed sustainability in 2020 and beyond. 

Engaging with suppliers and farmers

Much of the rapeseed used in AAK’s products is grown in Sweden, where farms have increased their output in recent years. Through close cooperation with the farmers, AAK is able to maintain control of the entire value chain, from the production of raw material to finished products. The rapeseed meal that remains after oil extraction is used as animal feed. 

In 2019, we experienced a growing demand for sustainable rapeseed. The demands include locally grown and traceable rapeseed for the UK, or for certified sustainable rapeseed in general. The focus market for this development was Europe. We have engaged with our UK suppliers to increase traceability and we have achieved ISCC certification for our Karlshamn factory, allowing us to supply customers with certified material.

ISCC was developed through an open multi-stakeholder process and was inaugurated in Berlin in January 2010. Today, it has more than 100 members within agriculture, processing, manufacturing, research, and conversion and protection. The focus of the ISCC Plus standard lies on zero deforestation of important areas such as high biodiversity areas, high carbon stock areas or nationally and internationally protected areas. Furthermore, important principles on good agricultural practices (soil, water and air), labor rights, human rights and land rights have been defined. These are continuously developed for further improvement. Certification is conducted by independent third-party certification bodies, which must be accredited and ISCC recognized. Learn more at ISCC.