Life on Land
Land is a precious commodity. We need it to build houses, to ensure our nutrition, for production, and also for mobility. The plants and trees that supply us with oxygen prevent soil erosion and desertification and encourage biodiversity. The needs of a growing global population for housing and food must be in harmony with this important and precious commodity as much as possible. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that meat consumption will increase worldwide to 373 million metric tons per annum by 2030 and to 465 million metric tons by 2050. This means more farming of animals, more animal feed, more agricultural areas, water and energy consumption. Because of this, there will be no alternative in the long term but to improve agricultural productivity with less consumption of land and resources.
Amino acids from Evonik make an important contribution towards reducing plant-based protein in animal feed and improving feed conversion. Feed must be produced so that it contains all protein building blocks in the correct ratio. This can be achieved in two ways. A shortage of amino acids can be balanced out either with a higher percentage of protein-rich feed components like fish meal or oilseed meal. Or the feed is enriched with the missing amino acids, which are produced especially for this purpose. This is not only good for the crop areas (especially in tropical rainforests)—it also helps reduce emissions from animal excretions.
Evonik has been involved with resource conserving animal nutrition for many years and is now a world leading provider of amino acids. The addition of amino acids to animal feed and, hence, the consistent reduction in raw protein in the feed – for example from soy – is a particularly sustainable way of nourishing animals and feeding the growing global population. For example, 1 kg of the amino acid DL methionine (MetAMINO®) and 2 kg of a mixture of the amino acid lysine (Biolys®) can replace 54 kg of fish meal and 34 kg of soybean meal. Converted to our production volumes of MetAMINO®, this means saving a cultivation area the size of Malawi. This is an important contribution towards maintaining biodiversity through using less cultivated area.
Biodiversity is also a critical factor in the cultivation of oil palms. This is why Evonik has been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2010 and supports the plans of the RSPO to switch worldwide production of palm oil to sustainable sources in the long term. All nine sites of our Personal Care business that process palm oil are now certified by an external certification office. Consequently, the organizational structure of these sites meets the specifications of the RSPO – a basic requirement for the continuous changeover to certified input materials. More than 50 products from the Personal Care and Household Care business lines are already offered on a certified basis. In collaboration with our customers and suppliers, we plan to continue expanding our portfolio with certified products.
Yet another contribution towards conserving scare cultivation areas is a copolymer developed by Evonik on the basis of potassium salt with high water storage capacity: what is known as a superabsorbent. The material is incorporated in the soil where it surrounds the plant roots and absorbs many times its own weight of water and fertilizer. Moisture swells the granules into gel particles that store water and release it evenly to the plants when there is no rain. This reduces drought stress for plants and makes land use economical even with problematic weather conditions. According to the motto “Make the desert green”.