Sustainable Industry

Friends of the environment

Global company initiative seeks to mitigate impacts of cattle ranching, while Senai CETIQT reuses hair from dog grooming

Large corporations around the world are striving to reduce the adverse environmental impact of their livestock production by committing, in some cases, to carbon neutral targets for the coming decades.

As such, DSM, a global Dutch company with a focus on health, nutrition and bioscience, has developed Bovaer, an animal nutritional supplement that promises to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cattle – notably methane (CH4). The goal is to contribute to reducing the environmental footprint of beef, milk and dairy products.

During COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, an unprecedented initiative was launched: more than 100 countries committed to reduce methane emission levels by 30% by 2030 as part of the drive to mitigate global warming. The focus has always been on CO2, and now methane is also in the radar.

DSM’s initiatives are in line with the strategy of the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) towards a low-carbon economy based on four pillars: energy transition, carbon market, circular economy, and forest conservation.

DSM has plants in Pecém (CE), Marabá (PA), Ibiporã (PR), Mairinque, and São Paulo (SP), and in September it received clearance to market Bovaer in Brazil and Chile. Thus, the two countries became early adopters of this supplement.

According to DSM, Bovaer is a scientifically tested solution to tackle the challenge of methane from belching cattle: a quarter of a teaspoon of the solution per cow per day reduces enteric methane emissions by about 30% for dairy cows, and at even higher percentages – up to 90% – for beef cattle.

This is how it works: the solution takes effect immediately after the animal has fed by suppressing methane production in the stomach. It is then decomposed without compromising the animal’s welfare.

Clean Cow – Known as the Clean Cow project, the collaborative effort made by scientists and partners around the creation of Bovaer took more than ten years and included 45 tests in farms on four continents. More than 48 papers on the supplement have been published in independent scientific journals.

A test involving Bovaer conducted at the State University of São Paulo (Unesp) in 2016-2017, for example, revealed reductions in enteric methane emissions of up to 55%. In non-tropical regions, the reduction could be as high as 35%, the study showed.

“The Bovaer beef test conducted at Unesp emphasizes the supplement’s potential for a radically more sustainable livestock farming in Latin America,” says Mauricio Adade, DSM CEO for Latin America. “We are eager to collaborate with Brazil’s agricultural sectors to further reduce their carbon footprint,” he says in conclusion.

DSM Program Director Mark van Nieuwland agrees. “The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that a rapid reduction in methane emissions could reduce the spread of global warming in the short term and have a positive effect on air quality. We know that the agricultural sectors are aware of this opportunity for change and are eager to act.”

Dogs – In 2017, the Technology Center for the Chemical and Textile Industry (Senai CETIQT) in Rio de Janeiro became a partner in a project that also involves livestock and sustainability in the industry.

​The Fur You project is an initiative by veterinarian and fashion designer Dóris Carvalho from Goiânia (GO), and the idea is to minimize waste from pet shops and veterinary clinics and make a sustainable use of their waste – which is generally dumped in landfills – by using dog hair from grooming as raw material for the production of textile yarn.

Dóris believes that a city like Goiânia, with 1.5 million inhabitants, produces around 3.5 tons of hair from dog grooming every month.

The project led to a new fiber that can be used in the making of products such as bags, shoes and clothing. Production of the yarn was successful following tests with a machine that CETIQT uses for innovative textile projects.

According to Dóris, negotiations are underway on waste collection, separation and sterilization, and these will be carried out by a cooperative of former female inmates seeking a new opportunity for social reintegration.

Dóris also said that “the research to find other natural fibers continues, but the goal is to use pet grooming waste to the maximum possible extent to produce items.” She also informed that the first collection will be launched in early 2022.