DMK Group pilots net zero farms
According to current research, German agriculture emits 65 million tons of CO2e every year, which is 7.3% of Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the European Green Deal, emissions from agriculture are to be reduced by 34% by 2030. At Germany’s DMK Group, milk production accounts for around 80% of the company’s overall carbon footprint and this is where there is the greatest potential for doing something.
After joining the Science Based Target Initiative at the beginning of the year, DMK is expanding its portfolio to include vegan products, reducing packaging waste and avoiding food waste, along with energy and water efficiency projects in the plants and use of hydrogen for the milk collection trucks.
Another relevant lever is the farms. In addition to the agricultural climate check, with which farmers can create their individual climate balance and identify potential for improvement, the DMK Group is now taking a next step with several pilot farms – DMK Net Zero Farms. The goal is to implement concepts for reducing emissions on the pilot farms, try them out and gain insights.
“In the medium term, climate change represents the greatest challenge and at the same time the greatest responsibility for society, but also for us as a company and our farms. It is therefore clear that we need solutions for even more climate protection and sustainability in agriculture. As the DMK Group, we want to continue to fulfill our responsibility here and make a significant contribution to reducing emissions and the future viability of the industry with the knowledge gained from our pilot operations,” says Philipp Inderhees, global head of corporate strategy at the DMK Group.
“It is very important to us to involve our customers in the project as well as our farmers,” says Inderhees. DMK has therefore set up the Climate Think Tank for project advice and support, in which experienced experts from science and practice as well as customers come together.
“In our strategy for 2030, we have set ourselves the goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by a further 20% along the entire value chain,” says the head of corporate strategy.
The vision of a ‘DMK Net Zero Farm’ is new territory for everyone involved, as there has been little practical experience in this field to date. In addition, the average CO2 value per kilogram of milk at DMK farms is already at a low level compared to the industry sector – further reduction of the footprint is therefore ambitious.
Together with its partners, the DMK Group wants to use the pilot operations to ask itself what site-specific options there are for reducing and compensating for the remaining emissions in order to bring the operations towards net zero. The aim is to develop practicable concepts for the everyday life of farmers, which also prove their worth from an economic point of view.
By the end of 2025, measures such as the use of feed additives to reduce methane, humus storage in the soil or the cultivation of native protein plants will be tested on the three DMK pilot farms.