Communications and Sustainability Director
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Despite the exceptional year, Altia reached several significant milestones in its sustainability work in 2020. At the end of the year, Altia presented a groundbreaking product innovation, Koskenkorva Vodka Climate Action, the world's first vodka made entirely from regeneratively farmed barley. In addition, Altia exceeded its targets both in reducing the amount of sugar in its products and in increasing the share of low-alcohol products in its portfolio.
Altia’s sustainability work is guided by the new Sustainability Roadmap 2030. The key target is to achieve carbon neutral production by 2025. The implementation of the roadmap got off to a convincing start, and several long-term goals were already achieved during the first year. For instance, the share of low-alcohol products increased to 16% (target 10% by 2030) and the amount of sugar in products was reduced by 13% compared to the 2018 baseline (target 10% by 2030).
In April 2020, Altia was awarded the Gold Medal in the EcoVadis Corporate Social Responsibility rating. Altia was ranked among the top 2% of more than 55,000 companies rated and received positive feedback on its advanced management system in environmental topics.
Altia reports its key sustainability advancements and figures of 2020 in its annual report published on the 25th of February 2021.
At the award-winning Koskenkorva distillery, carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by 58% already, compared to the 2014 baseline. Moreover, in 2020 a self-sufficiency rate of 65% was achieved in steam production. The recycling and reuse rate at the distillery is 99.6%.
Altia's fossil carbon dioxide emissions decreased during 2020, but total emissions grew momentarily due to increased production volumes at the Koskenkorva plant. This was partly caused by an increase in production of technical ethanol, the raw material needed for hand sanitisers. Fossil emissions were reduced, for example, by utilising both barley husks and oat husks as fuel in the distillery’s bioenergy plant. Additionally, several projects were initiated to move the distillery towards carbon neutral production in 2025, without compensations.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Altia responded to the growing demand for technical ethanol used in hand sanitisers. When the demand peaked during the first quarter, the daily amounts of denatured ethanol delivered to customers was enough to produce around 200,000 half-litre bottles of hand sanitiser.
"With our Koskenkorva distillery running at full capacity, we reached a record in the use of barley in our production, 214 million kilos," says Pekka Tennilä, Altia’s CEO.
Altia continued its long-term cooperation with the Baltic Sea Action Group and local farmers. Hundreds of farmers were given training in regenerative farming methods, which aim to mitigate climate change. Koskenkorva Vodka Climate Action, the world’s first vodka made entirely from regeneratively farmed barley, will see the light at the beginning of 2021.
In 2020, Altia introduced the first products packed in rPET bottles that include 25% of recycled plastic. Altia’s aim is to increase the content of recycled plastic in PET bottles to 100% by 2030, faster than the target se by the EU. In addition, Altia's recycling rate for small PET bottles in Finland increased by 20% as a result of a successful consumer campaign.
During the pandemic, Altia further invested in occupational safety and health and developed safer working methods. Altia's sickness absence rate in relation to hours worked remained at the good level of 4%. The number of absences due to injuries at work decreased once again (LTIF 7, 2019: 9), and Altia is on track towards the key goal set for 2030: zero absences due to injuries.
Altia aims for responsible corporate citizenship in its production chain as well. In 2020, the share of purchases from risk countries, as identified in the amfori BSCI risk country classification, was only 2%. In 2020, Altia could not carry through planned audits due to COVID-19, but the audits will proceed once the pandemic situation allows.
"I am pleased with our 2020 achievements in sustainability. We will continue our work towards the goals set in our sustainability roadmap. We will also continue our awarded product development and innovations work to achieve a more responsible drinking culture and the world’s most sustainable grain-based spirits," Pekka Tennilä summarizes.
|Use of grain (million kg)||214||211,5||211,7|
|Reduction in Koskenkorva CO2 emissions compared to 2014 base year||58 %||58 %||54 %|
|Waste recycling & reutilisation rate||99,5 %||99,5 %||99,7 %|
|Number of launches of low or non-alcoholic drinks||10||24||13|
|Average alcoholic strength of Altia’s own production (% vol.)||29,7 %||31,3 %||31,3 %|
|Number of accidents in relation to hours worked (LTIF)||7||9||12|