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27 Dec 2019

Arla accelerating the green transition

At our most recent VikingAcademy, which is a forum where we meet our Global Distributors, Poul Bank Pettersson, Director, Regional Manager and Member relations Denmark from Arla Foods  (Nordic multinational dairy company), explained how the company is working with their members to implement a plan to reduce the carbon footprint of milk production. 

Today, ARLA pays according to fat and protein in the milk, but in the future, it will put extra value on milk produced on a farm that is more sustainable. Consumer demands will focus far more on climate issues in the future. Young people, far removed from dairy business, will drive this focus. 

ARLA Food has identified three main areas where they will focus on accelerating what they call the “green transition” towards 2050. Aligned with the climate goals of Carbon Net Zero by 2050 agreed at the United Nations, these three areas are: Better climate: Carbon net Zero, Clean air and water: Nitrogen and phosphorus Cycles in balance, and more nature, i.e. greater biodiversity and access to nature. 
“We plan to visit all our dairy farmers and explain how they can work more efficiently. We are going to measure the carbon footprint of every farm in 2020, after which we will know exactly where each of our 11,000 owners are in terms of carbon footprint at herd level. This is the first step for us and will give us data on where we are regarding climate challenges and implementing our green transition towards 2050,” says Poul Bank Petterson.

Milk production is an important contributor to greenhouse gases. Cows produce methane gas and each kilo of methane gas corresponds to 28 kg of CO2, according to scientific calculations. Greenhouse gas emissions at farm level come from enteric fermentation, manure handling and storage, feed production, fuel and electricity etc. However, the industry also intends to offset such emissions with carbon sequestration.
“Our long-term aim is to implement the sustainability compass,” Petersson said while explaining that in addition to this focus on climate, other factors such as animal welfare, the responsible use of antibiotics, people, air, water and nature will also play a crucial role in this strategy.

“Dairy farmers are already doing all they can to cope with climate new challenges, but there is room to improve in term of more efficient practices in the dairy industry,” he says.
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