Arla doubles CO2e target for operations to meet 1.5°C

With plans to convert to fossil free trucks, green electricity and low-energy solutions, farmer-owned dairy group Arla Foods is scaling up its climate target for operations from 30 to 63% by 2030. The new target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as consistent with reductions required to keep global warming to 1.5°C.

A clear plan to deliver its ambition to be a carbon net zero company has given Arla Foods the confidence to further increase its science based targetsto keep warming to 1.5°C, in line with the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

The new targets mean that the farmer owned cooperative is more than doubling its scope one and two emissions reductions having achieved a 24% reduction  since 2015. To help reach the 63% target Arla will continue to invest heavily into sustainability actions and plans to increase total investments by 40% to 4+ billion EUR (around £3.3bn*) over the next five year period. This investment will help to fund the activities required to deliver the 63% COreduction to meet Arla’s new 1.5 pathway:

Concentrated effort across Arla’s operations have meant that against a base year of 2015 the company has already achieved an absolute reduction of 24% in scope one and two of CO2e emissions. To reach the 63% target, Arla will continue to invest heavily in sustainability projects, planning to increase its total investments by 40% to more than 4 billion EUR (around £3.3bn*) over the next five year period. This investment will fund the activities required to deliver the 63% COreduction needed to meet Arla’s new 1.5 pathway:

Key activities on Arla’s 1.5 pathway


  1. The conversion of Arla’s owned fleet ofmilk tankers and distribution trucksto fossil free solutions through biodiesel, biogas and electric vehicles.
  2. Work with customers and farmers to reduce total mileage across the company through optimised route planning for our milk tankers.
  3. Increased engagement with logistics suppliers to help in reducing their COemissions as well.


  1. The conversion to 100% green electricity in Europe through green power purchase agreements and investment in wind and solar projects complemented with purchased guarantees of origin for electricity produced on Arla farms.
  2. Reduce energy consumption through investments in low-energy solutions across Arla’s dairy sites e.g. heat recovery solutions incl. heat pumps, electrification of boilers and general optimisation of electrical powered equipment.

Ash Amirahmadi, MD of Arla Foods UK comments: “Arla is one of only 59 food and beverage processors globally and one of the first farmer-owned dairy cooperatives in the world to have a 1.5°C target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.  The demand for dairy across the world continues to increase as we tackle issues of food poverty and malnutrition. With Arla’s farmer owners already among the most carbon efficient farmers in the world, it is right that we also show leadership in reducing carbon emissions across the production and operational side of the cooperative.”

Scope 3 targets on farm to be reviewed in 2022

Whilst the SBTi has classified Arla’s new 63% target for scope 1 and 2 as consistent with a 1.5°C trajectory, the existing 30% target for scope 3, covering among other things the Arla farms, continues to meet the SBTi’s criteria for ambitious value chain goals in line with current best practice.

The SBTi is expected to launch a new sector guidance in 2022 for Forest, Land and Agriculture with more detailed requirements for setting science-based targets than previously available for companies in land-intensive sectors.

Hanne Søndergaard, executive vice president with responsibility of Agriculture and Sustainability in Arla Foods, comments: “Our ambition is to be in line with a 1.5°C trajectory in all three scopes of our value chain when it becomes possible. We will therefore review the SBTi’s new sector guidance when it’s released to see whether any changes to our current plans will be required,”

In working towards a 30% CO2e reduction per tonne of standardised raw milk and whey intake Arla farmers have reduced emissions by 7% since 2015 and with over 90% of Arla farmers participating in carbon footprint reporting, the data shows they already produce milk with around half the emissions of milk produced globally. In the UK, Arla’s farmer owners have clear plans to continue reducing this further as laid out in Arla’s farm carbon footprint report, “A Sustainable Future for British Dairy”.

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