Denmark’s bacon exports damaging environment: Greenpeace

An export agreement between meat producer Danish Crown and Chinese company Win-Chain, which will see the latter company take 250 tons of pork weekly over a five-year period, has irked climate campaigners in the Scandinavian country.

Denmark’s bacon exports damaging environment: Greenpeace
Danish Crown's factory in Ringsted, Zealand. File photo: LISELOTTE SABROE/Ritzau Scanpix)

The deal is set to earn Danish Crown 2.3 billion kroner, Ritzau reports.

Greenpeace agricultural policy advisor Kristian Sloth criticised the trade deal, citing
environmental impact.

“I’m very dejected. I’m embarrassed for my country,” Sloth said.

“Meat is the world’s least sustainable food product. It is the absolute worst thing you can produce, and we’re world champions of it in Denmark,” he continued.

“Our nature and environment must now suffer for the sake of meat for people in China. That’s insane,” he said.

Danish Crown opened a processing factory in Shanghai earlier this year. It is this facility which will process and package the meat for Chinese consumers.

Sloth called for political restrictions on market forces that could cause significant environmental harm.

He also said that a programme on green policy presented by the government last month failed to address pollution caused by pork production.

“You cannot blame Danish Crown, who are reaping the rewards as their entire apparatus allows,” he said.

“The agricultural sector has been given a free pass by the government. It is Danish politicians who are allowing our land to become an ammonia puddle,” he said, also calling Denmark “a real ‘oink-oink’ country” and “the world’s meat factory”.

“There is no excuse for this, if you consider the climate crisis we are facing,” he said.

Sloth cited a study from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research which found that plant-based agriculture has the capacity to feed three to four times as many people as meat.

“Danish politicians must cut down on the number of animals in Denmark. That would have an immediate effect in climate impact,” he said.

READ ALSO: Danish government boosts electric cars, puts out fireplaces in extensive climate plan


Norwegian battery start-up Freyr demands subsidies to complete factory

The Freyr battery start-up has halted construction of its Giga Arctic factory and demanded additional government subsidies, Norway's state broadcaster NRK has reported.

Norwegian battery start-up Freyr demands subsidies to complete factory

Jan Arve Haugan, the company’s operations director, told the broadcaster that the company would not order any more equipment until Norway’s government committed to further subsidies. 

“We are holding back further orders for prefabricated steel and concrete pending clarification on further progress,” he said. “We are keen to move forward, but we have to respect that there is a political process going on, and we have expectations that words will be put into action.” 

Freyr in April 2019 announced its plans to build the 17 billion kroner Giga Arctic in Mo i Rana, and has so far received 4 billion kroner in loans and loan guarantees from the Norwegian government. It has already started construction and hopes to complete the build by 2024-2025. 

Haugan said that the enormous subsidies for green industry in the Inflation Reduction Act voted through in the US in 2022 had changed the playing field for companies like Freyr, meaning Norway would need to increase the level of subsidies if the project was to be viable. 

Freyr in December announced plans for Giga America, a $1.3bn facility which it plans to build in Coweta, Georgia.   

“What the Americans have done, which is completely exceptional, is to provide very solid support for the renewable industry,” Haugen said. “This changes the framework conditions for a company like Freyr, and we have to take that into account.” 

Jan Christian Vestre, Norway’s industry minister, said that the government was looking at what actions to take to counter the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act, but said he was unwilling to get drawn into a subsidy battle with the US. 

“The government is working on how to upgrade our instruments and I hope that we will have further clarifications towards the summer,” he said.

“We are not going to imitate the Americans’ subsidy race. We have never competed in Norway to be the cheapest or most heavily subsidised. We have competed on competence, Norwegian labour, clean and affordable energy and being world champions in high productivity.”