DFA sets greenhouse gas reduction target

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

DFA is the first US dairy cooperative to set a science-based target to reduce GHG emissions. Pic: Getty Images/Matt Anderson
DFA is the first US dairy cooperative to set a science-based target to reduce GHG emissions. Pic: Getty Images/Matt Anderson

Related tags: Dfa, Sustainability, emissions, Greenhouse gas

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy cooperative owned by family farmers, has announced it is setting a science-based target and committing to reduce direct and value chain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2030, from a base year of 2018.

It becomes the first US dairy cooperative to set a science-based target to reduce GHG emissions.

By having its targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), DFA is supporting the Paris Agreement’s broader goals to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Additionally, DFA’s target is aligned with work of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and its goals for the US dairy industry to become carbon neutral or better by 2050.

“Our dairy farm families have always been great stewards of the land and environmentally focused, because it protects the land for future generations,”​ David Darr, senior vice president and chief strategy and sustainability officer at DFA, said.

“While the entire dairy industry from farm to manufacturer only contributes about 2% of total US greenhouse gas emissions, we know it’s imperative to keep doing better and making improvements. So, we’re proud to take action and set this science-based target, which will help us further reduce our carbon footprint and do our part in taking care of our planet.”

DFA, its businesses and its farm family-owners will work across its supply chain to reduce GHG emissions on farms, in processing plants and on the road.

Strategies to achieve the target include: Mitigating methane emissions from cows by supporting advances in feed efficiency, herd nutrition and feed additives designed to reduce emissions; using renewable energy methods, such as solar panels and wind power, on farms and in plants; utilizing anaerobic digesters, which convert manure and food waste to energy, on farms and in plants; capturing emissions through healthy soil and crops; creating transportation and hauling efficiencies to reduce emissions; and exploring technologies and solutions to reduce emissions and promote environmental stewardship.

DFA is also working with other industry partners, such as Vanguard Renewables, a Massachusetts-based renewable-energy developer.

“We began working with Vanguard a few years ago, and our partnership with them continues to grow, as we think there’s a lot of opportunity to create synergies between our farms and plants,”​ Darr said.

“We’re also looking at some innovative solutions to reduce food waste with startup companies, so there’s a lot of excitement for how we can continue to accelerate our sustainability initiatives.”

Earlier this year, DFA released its 2020 Social Responsibility Report, “A Mark of Purpose,” which details its overall sustainability strategy.

The Science Based Targets initiative is a collaboration between CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature, and We Mean Business.

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