dsm-firmenich Grows Scope and Reach of its Sustell LCA Service – INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES

Source: dsm-firmenich via Feedinfo

Sustell helps companies of all sizes and at all points in the value chain to obtain an accurate life-cycle analysis (LCA) of a feed or animal protein product or operation. Since its launch three years ago by dsm-firmenich, the service, which includes a cloud-based platform and access to an expert centre of animal production sustainability consultants, has grown in both scope and reach.  Today, we hear from dsm-firmenich’s Dr. David Nickell, Vice President for Sustainability and Business Solutions, about how the new partnerships and upgrades continually being announced for Sustell have helped it reach more actors with ever-better data, empowering the world to make more sustainable choices about the production and consumption of animal proteins.

[Feedinfo] Sustell was first unveiled in May 2021. Can you take us through some of the evolutions it has gone through since that time, including the most recent enhancements?

[David Nickell] By capturing feed and farm-specific data, and backed by third-party ISO-certified methodology, Sustell™ is designed to be an easily scalable platform, allowing both users and the value chain to accurately measure and reduce the full environmental footprint of animal protein from feed to farm to meat processing.

Since Sustell™ was launched, we have continued to enhance the platform to better meet the needs of the entire animal protein value chain to ensure that it remains the leading life cycle assessment solution for all species. 

David Nickell, dsm-firmenich 

Dr. David Nickell
Vice President for Sustainability and Business Solutions

Our goal is to turn environmental footprinting into business opportunities across the value chain. dsm-firmenich continues to invest, work closely with experts as well as leading protein producers, and connect with partners throughout the ecosystem, including other downstream SaaS providers and ecolabels, to make that a reality that can scale to meet the needs of modern businesses.

A poultry integrator, for example, can use SustellTM to precisely measure the full environmental footprint for each batch of broilers or pack of eggs. SustellTM identifies ‘hotspots’ and enables ‘what-if’ analysis so that producers can target areas for productivity improvement and calculate the expected impact of interventions.

We routinely upgrade the SustellTM platform so that producers can effectively meet the ever-growing demand for credible sustainability data, empowering them to make informed decisions and drive positive change.

Alongside platform upgrades, we continue to grow our partner network and expand capabilities across production sectors.

For example, we are in the process of developing a dedicated SustellTM beef-specific module in partnership with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Embrapa.

This collaboration serves to fortify SustellTM’s position as the leading life cycle assessment solution for all species across the animal protein chain, allowing producers to explore new value opportunities such as better farm productivity, ecolabels and sustainable finance.


Feedinfo] Sustell is being used by a variety of actors, from private firms to industry organisations to financing or consulting groups. Can you talk about some of the partnerships around Sustell that best showcase what you are trying to accomplish with the service? Can you give any idea of the size and breadth of Sustell’s user base?

[David Nickell] Decarbonization is a massive topic for the industry and everyone has a part to play in the solution.

That’s why the network of SustellTM users and partners is so vast, ranging from feed and animal protein producers to SaaS providers, least cost formulation (LCF) software, consultants, banks, ecolabels and universities, across the world in every region. Only by connecting those players with SustellTM and having clear, robust and complete footprints, can businesses unlock opportunities related to sustainability.

We recently announced that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, will implement the Sustell™ platform to monitor emissions in the dairy supply chain for a programme in Brazil.

This use case is an excellent example of how the financial sector can use Sustell™ to identify and manage financed emissions in the agriculture and food sectors. This is particularly important to the banking sector with increasingly rigorous reporting requirements and industry efforts to tackle greenwashing.

With the EU tightening up on sustainability claims and greenwashing, owning transparent data and implementing credible measurement platforms like Sustell™ holds the key to a more sustainable future for food production.  

Additionally, we’ve recently partnered with Deloitte in a strategic partnership aimed at addressing the growing need for environmental accountability, particularly as value chains quantify and reduce their Scope 3 emissions.

These partnerships are a testament to the capabilities of Sustell™ and how it can be used to improve sustainability at every stage of the agri-food industry.


[Feedinfo] If I’m understanding correctly, your recent partnership with Agrifirm was not about securing this company as a user, but rather about combining your two services – Sustell and Agrifirm’s PoultryNEXT – into a single platform for poultry performance optimization, improving health and sustainability. Can you explain in greater detail how this partnership works? What makes these two services better together? Do you foresee (or have you already begun putting into place) similar partnerships for other sectors of animal production, like aquaculture or swine?

[David Nickell] The partnership between Sustell™ and Agrifirm’s PoultryNEXT, a leading data platform for poultry production performance insights, will provide a unique solution for transparent and responsible poultry farming, catering to the needs of the entire value chain.

The partnership works by presenting farmers with the ability to convert feed and farm data into sustainability insights, that not only lead to an improvement in the environmental footprint of production but also aid farmers in identifying where efficiency gains can be made – this in turn can lead to increased profitability.

This paves the way for farm advisory services that foster transparency and unlock new market opportunities across the wider value chain. We are always open to partnerships with like-minded organizations who want to take a leading role in sustainable animal protein, particularly when they add value for the SustellTM community.


[Feedinfo] Measuring the environmental footprint of a product via a lifecycle assessment platform like Sustell is very important, but at the end of the day, it is just as important to put that information in the hands of those who can act on it – producers who can change how they produce, or consumers who can change how they consume. Can you talk about initiatives or partnerships making that possible? 

[David Nickell] Sustainability and environmental footprinting touch on multiple aspects of the business model for feed and animal protein producers, from operational efficiency to new value/margin opportunities, access to capital and license to operate.

Primary, farm-level data is key to enabling all players in the animal protein value chain to unlock new market opportunities and effectively create a race to the top in terms of sustainability.

A robust and accurate environmental footprint provides all actors with a single source of truth to engage in genuine dialogue that drives real change.

Producers can use the insights from SustellTM not just for the productivity gains that accompany footprint reduction, but also to engage with their stakeholders. This takes on various forms, e.g. when banks engage in sustainable lending to farm and agrifood companies, or when food companies seek to manage their Scope 3 emissions often through a mix of measurement and incentives.

For consumers, a reliable footprint can enable SKU level reporting, credible green product claims and even eco-labeling. Our partnership between Sustell™ and Sustained, a software-as-a-service company, enables customers to report the farm-to-fork footprint of food products containing animal proteins such as eggs, meat, milk and fish.

With over 70% of consumers now considering sustainability as a primary driver in purchasing decisions, credible ecolabels empower them to make informed decisions on their purchases that are better for the planet.

Importantly, Sustell™ also offers consumer packaged goods and food companies the ability to include measurement of their Scope 3 emissions and actions that help to make tangible, actionable steps to meet net-zero targets. Using automation to capture the required data is a massive benefit for companies who are seeking to report their footprints at product or company level.


[Feedinfo] What are your ambitions for Sustell over the next three years (and beyond)?

[David Nickell] Our overarching goal for Sustell™ is to facilitate a transformative shift for the entire agri-food industry towards a more environmentally conscious and sustainable food system, embedding Sustell™ into all verticals and sectors of the animal protein industry.

To be a part of the solution, each player will need access to credible and accurate life cycle assessment. Our mission is to democratize environmental footprinting by making it available to everyone in the value chain. This marks a paradigm shift in which sustainability is no longer a ‘nice-to-have' but a must-have for businesses.

With SustellTM we enable customers to build in-house capabilities and take control of their environmental footprint, thereby empowering them to make more informed and sustainable decisions.

We will work to actively expand our network of partners to broaden the reach of Sustell™ across the whole value chain, from farm to fork and to further enrich the value opportunities. Through our partnerships and enhancements of the platform, we will ensure that the entire value chain can work together to assess, report and enhance the sustainability of food production.


Published in association with dsm-firmenich