IRVING, TEXAS — On Sept. 26, Darling Ingredients released its 2022 ESG Report, detailing its key environmental, social and governance initiatives throughout the last year. According to the report, the company has invested $25 million in energy and water conservation and efficiency improvements.

“The world is at an inflection point that will drive creativity and innovation as we continue to decarbonize,” said Randall C. Stuewe, chairman and chief executive officer of Darling Ingredients. “Our ESG report outlines how Darling Ingredients continues to renew, repurpose and reinvent the future and work with stakeholders to build a better world and contribute to a circular economy.”

The report aligns with the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Core Standards and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

Despite its subsidiary Valley Proteins facing a fine for environmental violations, Darling Ingredients detailed many ESG achievements: 

  • Establishing an ESG Committee within its Board of Directors
  • Producing 372 million gallons of renewable diesel, and on track to produce more than 750 million gallons in 2022
  • Increasing its energy intensity per unit of production within its collagen and gelatin business by 18%
  • Decreasing its global water intensity by 1.8%
  • Returning 47% more water back to the environment

Darling Ingredients specializes in a circular rendering process, which collects fat and protein ingredients from raw materials and recaptures water, advancing its sustainability achievements.

Darling Ingredients' circular rendering processSource: Darling Ingredients

“We play a crucial role in the agri-food industry by collecting and repurposing animal-based byproducts and other natural materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill,” the company stated in its ESG report. “In 2021, Darling Ingredients converted about 11 million metric tons of low-value raw materials into unique and valuable ingredients that help sustain life.”

The company has also invested in many new R&D initiatives to help advance sustainability within the ingredients market. The company’s EnviroFlight R&D and Corporate Center in Apex, NC., specializes in black solider fly larvae (BSFL) research, creating alternative protein ingredients for use in animal feed, pet nutrition and other industries. 

Darling Ingredients’ priorities within sustainability include water and energy conservation, renewable energy production, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable supply chains, and more. Through these initiatives, Darling Ingredients hopes to reduce its water intensity by 5% by 2025 and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“In our rendering business, we continue to look for new applications for the water we draw from raw materials, either to reuse in our own operations or to return to natural water cycles via crop irrigation, or release to local watersheds,” the company stated in its report. “Leveraging our expertise in agriculture and the repurposing of raw materials, we are also committed to increasing the amount of renewable bioenergy we produce from animal fats, organic residuals and used oil and grease we collect from restaurants.”

According to the report, Darling Ingredients’ Scope 1 emissions in 2021 totaled 1.39 million tCO2e, a decrease from about 1.45 million tCO2e in 2019. To further reduce its emissions, the company plans to optimize its energy consumption, reduce its electrical consumption, increase its use of renewable energy, and facilitate carbon removal.

“Darling Ingredients has been at the forefront of the circular economy, and we continue to look for ways to improve the environmental footprint of our business,” Stuewe wrote in the report.

Find out more on Darling Ingredients’ ESG initiatives in its 2022 ESG Report.

Read more about sustainability efforts in the pet food and treat industry.