Darling Ingredients* might not enjoy the name recognition of some other sustainability leaders, but it would be hard to find a publicly traded company with a business model more aligned with the emerging circular economy.
The “circular economy” is a new model for economic activity that emphasizes reusing, repairing, sharing and recycling existing products and materials for as long as possible. Darling’s whole business model is built around reuse.
Darling collects residuals from food production (think used cooking oil and other food waste) and converts them into essential ingredients for other products including animal feed, needed pharmaceuticals, and biofuels.
When I met with Darling Chairman and CEO Randall Stuewe in January to talk about the company’s climate impact, he explained that through a joint venture called Diamond Green Diesel, Darling is one of the world’s largest producers of biofuels.
“We’ve always been the original recycler,” said Steuwe. “We were the guys that were taking products that were either going to be left out on the field — put in a landfill, or composted — and converted them back into sustainable ingredients.”
While it’s not a silver bullet when it comes to fuel emissions reduction, the biodiesel that Darling produces from waste fats and used cooking oils produces an 85% reduction in planet-warming emissions compared to conventional fossil fuel use. That’s truly a significant emissions reduction for a sector like trucking, where alternatives to fossil fuels still face major challenges.
That’s likely why Darling Ingredients was named one of 50 Sustainability and Climate Leaders by Bloomberg and TBD Media Group in their 2020 assessment of companies rising to meet the challenges our planet is facing today.
Green Century believes that all companies need to adopt the principles of circularity to respond to our accelerating environmental crises. That’s why we are proud to invest in Darling Ingredients.
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