Thursday, April 25, 2024

Bovaer making waves on methane – but not in NZ

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Methane mitigation pioneer recognised on first Time 100 list of climate innovators.
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The CEO of methane-reducing feed additive company Bovaer has been recognised by Time magazine in its inaugural Time100 Climate list of influential climate leaders for 2023.

Mark van Nieuwland, vice-president of DSM subsidiary Bovaer, is in the “innovators” section of the awards, which spans business leaders, activists and innovators working to mitigate and reduce climate change impacts.  

Van Nieuwland told Time magazine the race to reduce emissions has to accelerate for the agriculture sector with multiple companies committing to a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030, only six years away. 

He said this compels production systems to achieve about 5% a year between now and then, a big ask after the “minimal” progress to date.

Bovaer has been proven to reduce methane from livestock by 30-50%. It is already available in 45 countries and has a major partnership with animal health company Elanco.

Bovaer vice-president Mark van Nieuwland says there is an urgent need to accelerate the rate of methane mitigation in the agricultural sector.

However, Bovaer is still not available in New Zealand, and its release for livestock use remains uncertain until it has cleared regulatory approval through the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) process. 

After lengthy delays in putting an approval framework in place, the government put out a process earlier this year for companies seeking to gain approval. 

It is estimated that at least three separate products are in the process of entering or are already in the approval process.

Bovaer is understood to be still preparing a registration folder for application through the ACVM process, which will include the result of additional trails specific to NZ pasture-based settings. 

The NZ guidance documents for ACVM approval on inhibitors have some prescriptive requirements for companies, including clinical studies specific to NZ pastoral situations, with overseas data accepted only as “supporting data”.

In Australia, Coles has leveraged off Bovaer to boost sustainability claims about its beef supply, expanding its use of the methane mitigator.

Three of Coles’ carbon neutral beef suppliers now use the supplement in a partnership between DSM and the supermarket chain. 

Coles participated in trials with Bovaer last year, working with a feedlot company and the University of New England. Those trials confirmed meat quality and taste was not compromised by Bovaer’s use.

Coles’ livestock sustainability and innovation manager, Maria Crawford, said the trial results gave the retailer the knowledge and confidence to expand the use of Bovaer as an emissions reduction initiative.

“We were very encouraged by the results of our Bovaer trials and have used the findings to introduce the supplement to some of our beef suppliers to help them lower emissions on farm and help to reduce our Scope 3 emissions,” she said.

The use of Bovaer builds on Coles Finest certified carbon neutral beef range, which launched in April 2022 and is now available in all stores nationally. 

More recently the range expanded with the release of Coles Finest certified carbon neutral pork.  

These beef and pork products are certified carbon neutral from farm to shelf in accordance with the Australian government’s Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard.

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