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Life Cycle Analysis Highlights Corn Refining Industry’s Environmental and Sustainability Goals

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) released its Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), providing a snapshot of the corn refining industry’s sustainability achievements and goals. The LCA evaluates the environmental impacts of certain products derived from corn refining across their lifetime, from the beginning stages of agricultural production to the final stages of facility operations. This farm-to-manufacturer assessment delves into a variety of environmental impacts, including global warming potential, fossil fuel consumption, energy demand, and land use

Corn refiners are poised to significantly reduce their environmental impact over the next decade. In the previous 10 years, industry members not only set ambitious sustainability goals, but many of these benchmarks were met ahead of schedule and exceeded expectations.

“The LCA report reinforces our industry’s commitment to sustainability and implementing an integrated, upstream approach to environmental stewardship,” said John Bode, President and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association. “The agriculture industry understands that there is not a singular solution to our climate challenges and instead approaches sustainability with dynamic, ambitious efforts. Corn refiners are setting an example that can work as a sustainability model for the wider agriculture industry.”

Corn refiners are primarily engaged in sustainability initiatives to tackle two major factors contributing to industry environmental impact: corn production and emissions from energy consumption. Nearly every CRA member company has producer outreach or engagement programs at various levels to improve corn sourcing sustainability. This ranges from Cargill’s commitment to advance regenerative agriculture practices across 10 million acres of farmland to Ingredion’s work with the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform to certify sustainable production. Furthermore, CRA member companies’ efforts to shift from higher-impact to lower-impact energy sources have made great reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the refining process.

Some key achievements over the past six years include:

  • 2017: Ingredion sustainably sourced over 1.69 million metric tons of crops
  • 2017: ADM reduced its emissions by 16%, exceeding its original goal three years ahead of schedule
  • 2020: Cargill announced support for regenerative agriculture practices across 10 million acres of farmland
  • 2021: Tate & Lyle phased out coal in all its operations
  • 2021: Roquette sustainably sourced 37% of raw materials, exceeding their goal to sustainably source 20% by 2025
  • 2022: Primient’s Sustainable Agriculture Program supported 1.2 million acres of farmland
  • 2022: Grain Processing Corporation had reduced the amount of solid waste going to a landfill by 90% (against a 2015 baseline)
  • 2023: Primient, a new company launched in 2022, committed to setting science-based carbon reduction targets

Corn refiners are also on track to achieve crucial sustainability goals over the next decade. Some of these goals include:

  • By 2025: Roquette will avoid one million tons of CO2 equivalents annually across global operations
  • By 2030: Cargill will reduce GHG emissions in its global supply chain by 30% (against a 2017 baseline)
  • By 2030: Ingredion will source 50% of purchased energy from renewable sources and achieve 100% avoidance of waste to landfills

Through its commitment to innovating and growing the bioeconomy, the corn refining industry plays a critical role in today’s leading climate solutions. View the full LCA report here and learn more about CRA’s climate change policy principles here.

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