Arla Foods checks for carbon emissions

In order to accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions, 1,700 Arla Foods farmers in Germany and 8,200 Arla farmers in other countries have introduced a Europe-wide climate check programme for their dairy farms.

Arla Foods wants to build one of the world’s largest, externally verified climate data sets for the dairy industry in order to meet climate targets of 30% less carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero CO2e emissions by 2050 (including compensation through CO2e = carbon dioxide equivalent. To be able to compare different greenhouse gases, each greenhouse gas is converted into a CO2 equivalent).

“Already 90% of all Arla farmers and around 95% of Arla’s entire milk production are now recorded in the climate check programme. This allows us farmers to compare ourselves with our colleagues in future in terms of the CO2 footprint of our farms and together to reduce our emissions. And it is equally important that the data can be used to gain more knowledge and scientifically sound solutions in collaboration with the agricultural sector and academic institutions, which enable us to take the fight against climate change to the next level,” said Manfred Graff, an Arla farmer and a member of the supervisory board.

The climate check consists of two steps. In the first step, the farmers record their individual operating data on a digital platform: from the herd size to the husbandry, the amount of milk produced, feed consumption, feed production, energy and fuel consumption and the generation of renewable energies. This gives the farmer a clear picture of his total carbon emissions per litre of milk produced.

In the second step, the data is checked by an external consultant and joint improvement opportunities are discussed and concrete measures are developed in the course of a consultation. These can consist, for example, of a changed feed composition, which means that the excreted gases in cows can be reduced. The optimised use of liquid manure also helps to reduce a farm’s CO2 emissions; for example if liquid manure is used in a biogas plant, which then supplies renewable energy. Other options for reducing emissions include efficient feed production, the use of renewable energies or planting trees and plants.

To support farmers in using the new climate check, they will receive an additional payment of €0.01 per kilogram of milk in 2020 for participating in the scheme. “The climate check program reflects the high level of commitment shown by our farmers. Together with them, we want to take on a pioneering role and pave the way for more sustainable milk production. As a co-operative, we are proud of our steps towards a more sustainable future. I look forward to driving this transition together with customers and consumers, because sustainable success can only be created together,” said Markus Mühleisen, managing director of Arla Foods in Germany.

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