The jewel of the meat industry



Danish crown - from farm to fork.


Photograph: Unsplash

Text: Mariano Anthony Davies


Danish Crown has its roots in the agricultural cooperative movement of 1887 that paved the way for Denmark as a leading light in the livestock sector and has become a global leader in the sustainable production of meat with ambitions of achieving zero carbon dioxide in its production by 2050.


With production units today in Denmark, the United Kingdom, several European countries, and China - the Danish Crown Group has become one of Europe’s and the world’s leading exporters of pork and beef at an extremely high standard.


The company group as we know it today is the result of many mergers and historically is a good example of the success of the Danish agricultural cooperative model that has made Denmark an example for others to copy in the agricultural sector. This specific business model evolved out of the opportunities of the industrial revolution but has its roots deep in the DNA of their Viking merchant ancestors.


History

It all started in 1887 when 500 Danish farmers decided that forming a cooperative and working together would have more advantages than competing individually. The economy of scale alone would give them a level of sustainability that was impossible to achieve on a small farm and the collective benefits of individual farm innovation. This has proven to have been a correct strategy that penetrated every aspect of Danish agriculture and soon made Danish agriculture very competitive.


Danish Crown is determined to examine the entire value chain “from farm to fork” and contribute positively to the UN Sustainability Goals and address the challenges they bring to the farming industry. They admit not to having all the answers yet, but their ambition is to meet the UN’s Sustainability Goals by 2050.


One of the last sectors that create jobs for unskilled employees and can offer jobs to people at the fringe of the labour markets.

Diversity

This is one of a few large-scale inclusive workplaces in Denmark with room for everyone and where diversity is deeply rooted in their business. As a result, they are one of the last sectors that create jobs for unskilled employees and can offer jobs to people at the fringe of the labour market.


For this reason, people’s pasts are not important to them. They welcome refugees, people living on benefits, war veterans, people who have a criminal past or those who have simply found it difficult to get a job before. The most important thing to us is that people are motivated, determined and ready to start. They create a win-win by helping people refine their skills and find satisfaction in doing a good day’s work together with friendly colleagues, who also benefit from their structured safety standards.


Animal welfare

Among the 150 biggest food producers, a global survey on animal welfare recognised Danish Crown as the twelfth best for animal welfare leadership. The good quality of their products starts on the farm and at the slaughterhouse. Care and respect for animals and nature are crucial for producing high-quality products and creating customer value within a sustainable business model.


Danish Crown expects its farmers to comply with all relevant European and national legislation, and their Code of Conduct requires that all animals are treated humanely, their needs are met and the globally recognised Five Freedoms (as defined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council) are respected.


Consequently, when it comes to pork (their main production), they can track the meat to the daily production. Moreover, they always know which group of farms delivered the pigs for slaughter on a particular day, and therefore, they can trace any pork to the farm-group level.


Danish Crown seeks to support and deliver continuous improvement across its supply chains and invests in various research projects to drive performance. This reflects their leading position in each of their home markets and can be seen as Danish Crown and its subsidiaries are also actively involved in helping to drive industry improvements in animal welfare.


This over 130-year global group has approximately 26.000 employees, slaughtered nearly 19 million pigs in Denmark alone in 2021 and in this same period attained a global revenue of over DKK 18 trillion.

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