From Bovine to Bottle: First dairy roadmap lays out steps for reducing emissions across the entire value chain
Cooperative among first dairy companies to have its targets verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)
In a first for the UK dairy industry, Arla has today launched its Climate Action Roadmap – Towards Carbon Net Zero British Dairy as the cooperative works to provide consumers and retailers with clear information around the future of sustainable dairy production.
The new climate roadmap lays out how Arla will deliver against its 2030 climate targets by taking action to reduce emissions across its entire value chain, encompassing its farms, production sites and logistics.
Arla’s scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction target is consistent with changes needed to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees – the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement. These are among the first dairy industry climate targets to be verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and require the cooperative to reduce scope one and two emissions by 63%, against a 2015 baseline. Arla also aims to reduce scope three emissions by 30% per kg of milk and whey by the same date, also against a 2015 baseline, which meets the SBTi’s criteria for ambitious value chain goals in line with current best practice. Arla is the first UK dairy cooperative, and one of only 59 food and beverage processors globally, to meet this standard. Arla aims to reach carbon net zero across its entire business by 2050.
Ben Wood, senior sustainability manager for Arla UK, said: “Dairy has a defining decade ahead. The demand for dairy is growing around the world and we have a growing population to feed. But we must face into the challenges of reducing emissions to create a healthy planet alongside healthy people. Achieving approval for our scope 1 & 2 emissions from the SBTi is a key milestone on our way to ensuring we tackle the issues around food production and being one of the first dairy companies globally to get this approval highlights our commitment to sustainable food.
“Milk is among the most nutritious, natural and accessible products on the shelves today, and our climate roadmap is another step on our long term journey to producing it in the best possible way for the planet.”
Arla’s emissions come from five key areas: farming, which accounts for 83% of emissions, production (4%), packaging (2%), logistics and transport (2%), and other areas* (9%) with significant improvements already having been made against a 2015 baseline. During the last seven years alone, Arla UK has reduced emissions by 14% on farm (per kg of raw milk), by 24% across production, by 25% in transport and logistics, and by 18% in the packaging process.
To achieve its 2030 targets, Arla will now accelerate activity across each area, with key actions including:
Scope one and two – to achieve a 63% reduction in emissions by 2030
- Switching to 100% renewable electricity across production sites by 2025 will contribute 58% of the emissions reductions we need to make in production by 2030
- Optimising energy use, will contribute 42%
Transport and logistics
- Using alternative fuels, such as biogas (some of which is generated from slurry), will contribute 86% of the emissions reductions that we need to make in transport and logistics by 2030
- Optimising logistics to reduce emissions, will contribute 14%
Packaging – we aim to
- Use 100% recyclable packaging across branded products by 2025
- Remove all virgin fossil plastic across branded packaging by 2030
Scope three – to achieve a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030
- Helping our farmers to adapt more sustainable feed production practices, 27% contribution to achieving the on-farm emissions that we need to make by 2030
- Optimising farm resource use, 26%
- Utilising renewable electricity sources, 10%
- Using biogas, some of which is generated from cow slurry, 10%
- Improving breeding practices, 10%
- Carbon farming through peat soils and carbon sequestration, 10%
- Using green fertilisers, 7%
Wood, added: “We know that we have challenges to overcome when it comes to reducing our impact and that’s why we’re seizing the opportunity by investing across our entire value chain: starting at farm level through to the products ending up on the supermarket shelves.
“Our cooperative structure means that collaboration is in our blood and we’re working across our 2,100 UK dairy farms to share knowledge and bring about the all-important changes needed to develop even more sustainable food, that continues to deliver profitability for our farmers and create a stronger planet.”
To read the full report and see how Arla is reducing emissions across its entire business, click here.
Notes to editor - key initiatives from Arla’s Climate Roadmap
On farm – Arla is working with its 2,100 UK dairy farmers to make a range of changes to reduce emissions on farm. This includes working with farmers to reduce emissions across feed production, protein levels in a cow’s diet, cow health and contentment, fertiliser use on farm and in land management, among many other areas.
One example of Arla’s innovative approach to reducing emissions on farm is shown in the way Arla helps its farmers manage their cows’ diets. Working with specialist dairy dieticians, Arla has calculated that by refining a cow’s diet to include precisely 16% of protein, it can not only produce the optimum volume and quality of milk but also avoid excess emissions. By managing a dairy cow’s diet with this level of precision, Arla and it’s farmers have the potential to reduce on-farm emissions by 8% towards our 2030 target.
Production – targeting a 63% reduction in operational emissions by 2030, Arla will switch to 100% renewable electricity by 2025, with 20% of this being generated by new solar projects.
Arla has also introduced a new closed loop renewable energy scheme, which sees the cooperative buy energy directly from its farmers via Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates, who produce electricity on their farms via wind turbines or anaerobic digestors. Selling energy produced on farm directly to Arla guarantees farmers a better price, as previously they would have had to sell any excess energy back into the grid via a broker.
Packaging – Arla’s ambition is to achieve 100% recyclable packaging by 2025, across all branded and white labelled products and aims for 0% virgin fossil plastic used by 2030. As part of its commitment to circularity, the cooperative will launch the country’s first fully recyclable milk bottle in early 2023. The bottles which feature seal lids made from 100% aluminium foil, instead of the widely used flexible plastic material, will be rolled out in supermarkets across Arla’s branded milk ranges including Arla Cravendale.
Logistics - To reduce emissions across its logistics operations, which includes more than 700 trucks across Arla owned and third-party providers, Arla is continuing to invest in renewable energy sources to cut emissions. As part of this, more than two in five (41%) of Arla’s total fleet will be powered by biogas by 2030. While some of this biogas will be purchased from third party suppliers, Arla is continuing to invest in generating biogas from slurry (cow poo and water), to expand its fleet of ‘poo powered’ trucks.
*The majority of emissions in other areas come from purchased whey. Whey is purchased by the global Arla Foods business and not by Arla Foods UK.
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