Sustainable dairy farming: 9 out of 10 Arla farmers on board from the start

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Arla Foods’ 9700 farmer owners are already among the world’s most climate friendly dairy farmers.
15 July 2020
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To accelerate the reduction of CO2 emissions along its entire value chain, European dairy cooperative Arla Foods and its 9.700 farmer owners recently launched the first European wide, incentivized climate check program. With 90 percent of farmers having now submitted climate data – covering around 95 percent of Arla’s entire milk pool – the dairy cooperative is in the process of building one of the world’s largest sets of externally verified climate data from dairy farming to achieve its ambitious targets of reaching 30 percent less CO2 emissions by 2030 and to work towards carbon net zero by 2050.

Arla Foods’ 9700 farmer owners are already among the world’s most climate friendly dairy farmers, producing milk with less than half the average of emissions per kilo compared to global dairy productions. But Arla Foods wants to do more and do it faster. Therefore, the cooperative set out the ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent per kilogram of milk over the next decade and to work towards carbon net zero by 2050. To achieve this, a new voluntary Climate Check program was introduced with the aim to support Arla’s farmer owners to identify emissions on farm and to provide them with a clear picture of the actions they can take to reduce emissions further.

“9 out of 10 of Arla farmer owners and around 95 percent of Arla’s milk pool is now covered by the newly launched Climate Check program. We as farmers will now be able to benchmark ourselves against our farmer colleagues on our carbon footprint. But equally important, the data can be used to gain more knowledge and science-based solutions in collaboration with the agricultural sector and academic institutions, enabling us to take the fight against climate change to the next level,” says Jan Toft Nørgaard, Chairman of Arla Foods.

Paving the way to a more sustainable dairy production The climate check program consists of two parts: In first step, farmers enter their individual farm data covering everything from herd size to housing, milk volumes, feed usage and feed production, energy and fuel usage as well as renewable energy production into a digital reporting tool in order to calculate their individual CO2 footprint. In second step, the submitted data will be verified by an external advisor who will visit the farm and provide advice on action plans tailored to the individual farm.

With the data from almost all 9,700 European dairy farms and an annual production of around 14 billion litres of milk (around 8 % of the total milk pool in the EU), Arla Foods is building one of the world’s largest sets of externally verified climate data from dairy farming. This will be a solid foundation for benchmarking, knowledge sharing across the dairy industry and correlation analysis.

“Within our cooperative, we have some of the most climate-efficient farmers in the global dairy farming sector. The climate check program is another testament to our commitment to being a front runner and paving the way toward a more sustainable dairy production. As a cooperative, we are very proud of the steps we are taking to ensure a more sustainable future and I am looking forward to engage with the relevant stakeholders to drive the transition forward, because sustainable success can only be created together,” says Jan Toft Nørgaard.

Arla Foods is an international dairy company owned by more than 8,900 farmers from Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Arla Foods is one of the leading players in the international dairy arena with well-known brands like Arla®, Lurpak®, Puck® and Castello®. Arla Foods is focused on providing good dairy nourishment from sustainable farming and operations and is also the world's largest manufacturer of organic dairy products.

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