Ingredion Automates Product Carbon Footprinting at Scale Using HowGood

Ingredion Incorporated (NYSE: INGR) is a leading global ingredient solutions provider serving customers in more than 120 countries. With a commitment to sustainability, they turn plant-based materials into value-added ingredient solutions for the food, beverage, animal nutrition, brewing and industrial markets.

In an environment of rapidly-increasing reporting needs, sustainability data requests from Ingredion’s customers changed dramatically over a two-year timeframe. Responding to customer needs was a top priority, but these requests were severely straining internal resources.

Data requests from customers included questions around product-level carbon footprinting and far more granular data than they typically had available, either due to resource restraints or cost. While previously they were commissioning Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) to respond to requests for key ingredients, at around $25,000 per LCA, the company needed a more practical, scalable approach.

Ingredion sought a solution that would streamline internal processes, save money, and provide the quality of data that demonstrated their environmental and other ESG commitments. They needed LCA-level granularity at the scale and ease they were getting from generalized emissions databases.

To satisfy these needs and capture additional marketing and sales opportunities, Ingredion partnered with HowGood, a sustainability intelligence platform that brings ease and accuracy to sustainability reporting and carbon reduction by leveraging their database of 90,000 agricultural emissions factors. HowGood’s platform offers out-of-the-box ingredient granularity and enabled Ingredion to access carbon footprint data across their full portfolio in a matter of weeks.

“We saw immediate benefit from using HowGood’s platform. It took us two weeks to upload our data and get product carbon footprints for every product we put into the platform.”
– Brian Nash, VP Corporate Sustainability, Ingredion

Meeting increased demands for granular sustainability data

The food industry is rapidly adopting aggressive carbon reduction goals, which require high-quality upstream data to achieve. The level of accuracy and precision offered by generalized emissions databases was not sufficient to support Ingredion’s customers’ reporting and regulatory needs, on-pack claims verification, and carbon reduction strategies.

In addition to big-picture impacts, Ingredion felt these data pressures on a daily basis. Their sustainability team was fielding a flood of questions from account teams who were forwarding detailed requests from customers. Each one asked for information like, “What’s the carbon footprint of this product? What’s the water footprint? Are there human rights risks in the supply system? Can you provide an alternative solution with a smaller carbon footprint?” These questions were often followed by, “Can we do an LCA for these products?”

It was clear to the Ingredion team that a change would need to be made in order to support their customer relationships and leverage their commitment to sustainable innovation.

Creating a system to scale carbon footprinting

Ingredion sought a method for scaling their ability to respond to customer sustainability requests. Knowing that generalized emissions databases didn’t offer the accuracy they wanted and LCAs didn’t offer the scalability they required, they turned to software platforms. Their considerations included:

Data Collection & Resource Requirements

Ingredion needed a platform that only required the data they already had on hand, with a quick and seamless onboarding process and user-friendly interface.

Expense

Commissioned LCAs could easily cost $25,000 a piece and take up to a year to complete. Finding a platform that cut expenses, time, and management resources without sacrificing quality was critical.

Ability to Stay Up To Date with Scientific Research

With reporting requirements frequently shifting, Ingredion wanted to know that their data would always be in line with the latest research, with transparency into methodology and data sources.

Holistic Measurements

To help customers with a broad range of climate and other sustainability goals, Ingredion needed a platform that went beyond carbon to measure impacts like water, biodiversity, and labor risk.

Commercial Benefits

To ensure that the investment would have a clear path to Ingredion’s bottom line, they needed features for enabling their marketing and sales team to make use of them.
With these criteria in mind, Ingredion turned to HowGood. HowGood’s data integration options and onboarding templates eliminated the complexity of data entry, their methodology was accessible and in line with current scientific research for every metric across environmental and social impacts, and the cost was a fraction of what Ingredion had been spending.

Bringing sustainability into cross-functional processes to go beyond customer expectations

Ingredion uses HowGood to not only achieve success in automating their carbon footprint reporting, but also to gain a competitive advantage.
“We were originally attracted to HowGood to assess product sustainability attributes for our commercial teams to use. HowGood’s platform directly generates information for our product marketing.” – Brian Nash
Using HowGood’s SaaS platform, Latis, Ingredion differentiates their brand by backing-up their proven sustainability performance. In sales pitches and customer meetings, they offer clear insight into how their products compare to others in the industry.

Ingredion understands their own sustainability directly impacts that of their customers’ products. Their goal is to help their customers achieve their goals. Using Latis, Ingredion’s commercial teams can model their customers’ and prospects’ products and formulas, then demonstrate the direct improvements to carbon footprint and other metrics that can be achieved through using Ingredion’s solutions. This data is backed-up by HowGood’s published methodologies and data sources, and helps their customers see an accelerated path to reaching their climate goals. The ability to provide frictionless, realtime reporting makes Ingredion more responsive and able to provide accurate, actionable insights amidst quickly increasing regulatory reporting requirements.

The adoption of HowGood’s platform among companies across the full food value chain has also opened new sales channels for Ingredion. With 6 of the top 10 food brands in the world working with HowGood, there are opportunities for direct data publishing to their customers’ reporting platforms. This process makes it easier for everyone to share and make use of high-quality sustainability data.

“We love the fact that we can connect with formulators at our customers’ brands within the HowGood network. I’m talking to more food brand formulators now through HowGood than I ever have before. It’s great when we have a customer that’s on the platform and they’re trying to reduce the carbon footprint of their product – we can give them access to our ingredients, and they can make those changes to decarbonize. It’s a starting point for dialogue and discussion that’s been really effective.” – Brian Nash
In turning a pain point into a key differentiator, Ingredion has embraced granular product carbon footprinting at scale. Leveraging HowGood’s insights has not only satisfied their inbound requests, but created new sales channels and valuable relationships – all leading to a more sustainable food system.
Learn how you can leverage HowGood’s insights to create new sales channels and valuable relationships.

STEP TWO

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