“Whenever a customer co-brands its product with our vitamin K2 K2VITAL logo on the pack, we offer to plant 1000 trees in return,” Dominik Mattern, vice president of marketing at the Norwegian firm, told Nutraingredients.
Mattern said that brands Kappa Bioscience is talking to are “very enthusiastic” about the new initiative, which it claims is the first such programme to launch in the vitamin K2 industry.
“To quote one of the early adopters, they are ‘absolutely thrilled to be a part of it’ and are also very focused on sustainability. So this aligns with our customers’ values perfectly,” he said.
Companies who sign up to the ‘Brand & Plant’ co-branding scheme receive a certificate with the tree count and plant species, as well as a map and a link to the related restoration project, for example, mangrove planting in Madagascar.
The tree-planting will be implemented through Ecologi, a company that helps businesses to neutralise their carbon footprint by funding tree-planting and climate crisis solutions.
“Through the partnership with Ecologi, Kappa is able to compensate each of its employee’s personal and professional CO2 emissions, which are calculated by Ecologi, based on data from the World Bank and the Global Carbon Project,” explained Mattern.
515 tons of CO2 offset in eight months
Kappa Bioscience has been working with Ecologi since January 2021, during which time it has offset over 515 tons of CO2 by planting over 11,000 trees and funding various CO2-offsetting projects in developing countries.
“Besides tree planting, Kappa Bioscience also invests in carbon offsetting projects, including renewable energy generation, rainforest protection and community initiatives such as providing access to clean water,” said Mattern.
So far, Kappa Bioscience has contributed to the development of solar energy production in Vietnam and energy production from rice husks in India. It has also been financially involved in protecting old-growth rainforest in Peru, preserving the Mesoamerican biological corridor in Guatemala and supporting geothermal power production in West Java, Indonesia.
Each project is verified by the Verified Carbon Standard and aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are very proud to support such advancements, which locals might not be able to undertake alone,” said Mattern.
While Brand & Plant has no correlation to the sustainability of Kappa Bioscience’s vitamin K2 production process, Mattern confirmed that the company is looking into areas of improvement everywhere. For example, he said that the the company runs 98% on renewable energy.
“Brands can’t become sustainable overnight”
Kappa Bioscience is also keen to prove that Brand & Plant is no greenwashing exercise or quick fix, but part of a long-term programme of concrete action towards becoming a “truly sustainable player”.
Mattern said the company’s first decisive action in this direction was in 2020, when it started to measure its scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions according to the Global Reporting Initiative - the global standard for sustainability reporting.
“In terms of environmental and social governance we are currently assessing ourselves in order to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability,” he said.
“We try to take a long-term view of our business and its consequences - both ecological and societal. This is a value-driven mission: an ethical and environmental programme to make Kappa Bioscience a truly sustainable player. Yet it all starts with a proper diagnosis of our actual state. Brands can’t become sustainable overnight. There is no shortcut. It takes many steps.”