Support for Pathways to Dairy Net Zero includes 11 of 20 largest global dairy companies

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

The group of organizations is working to develop science-based methodologies, tools and pathways for every dairy system.
The group of organizations is working to develop science-based methodologies, tools and pathways for every dairy system.

Related tags Dairy emissions Net zero

Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, a new climate initiative, is launching during Climate Week and just prior to the United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit.

Forty organizations, including 11 of the 20 largest dairy companies in the world, have declared their support for the effort. Collectively, these companies represent approximately 30% of total milk production worldwide.

“Pathways to Dairy Net Zero will accelerate climate efforts already under way and drive further necessary action to reduce dairy’s emissions over the next decades. The dairy sector has a lot to offer to lead this transition,”​ said Hein Schumacher, CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina and chairman of Global Dairy Platform.

The initiative is underpinned by six key principles:

Mitigation​: Continuing to improve production and process efficiency to further reduce the GHG emissions intensity of milk and dairy products.   

Greenhouse gas removal​: Enhancing production practices that protect carbon sinks (soil, forests, grass, peatlands) and complement natural ecosystems.

Avoidance and adaptation​: Improving practices such as feed, manure, fertilizer and energy management.

Insets and offsets​: Identify and implement alternative, credible reduction options.

Measurement and monitoring​: Measuring greenhouse gas emissions to plan mitigation and monitor progress.

Overall support​: Promoting the global initiative and emphasizing the dairy sector’s climate ambition.

“Mengniu is proud to join the global dairy sector in uniting behind this effort, the first of its kind in agriculture, because we must all do our part to meet this worldwide climate challenge,”​ said Minfang (Jeffrey) Lu, CEO and executive director of China Mengniu Dairy Company.

The multi-stakeholder group of organizations, including the global dairy sector and representatives from the scientific and research communities, are working together to develop science-based methodologies, tools and pathways that work for every dairy system.

Research is under way to identify where positive climate change action is possible. The study is led by Scotland’s Rural College and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, research institutions from two of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases’ 65 member countries, backed up by data and analysis from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Dairy companies supporting Pathways to Dairy Net Zero

Dairy Farmers of America
Fonterra Co-operative Group
Royal FrieslandCampina
Arla Foods
China Mengniu Dairy Company
Meiji Holdings
Savencia Fromage & Dairy
Agropur Dairy Cooperative
Ace Farming Company
Agri Networking Tools
Australian Dairy Products Federation
Dairy Australia
Dairy Connect
Dairy Farmers of Canada
Dairy Management Inc.
Dairy UK
Dutch Dairy Association
First Milk
FOSS Analytics
Granja Tepeyac
Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
International Dairy Foods Association
La Vida Lactea
Land O’Lakes
Lekhanath Dairy International
Leprino Foods Company
Livestock Improvement Corporation
Megmilk Snow Brand
Morinaga Milk Industry
National Dairy Development Board (India)
National Milk Producers Federation
Palmhouse Dairies
Pioneer Natural Capital
Royal DSM
U.S. Dairy Export Council

The organizations said the initial research found the dairy sector already has the means to reduce up to 40% of emissions in some systems by improving productivity and resource use efficiency.

Researchers are identifying plausible GHG mitigation pathways for different dairy systems globally, in particular methane reduction. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reaffirmed the main GHG challenge is the reduction of carbon dioxide, which remains in the atmosphere for centuries.

The report also identified reductions in methane, a potent but short-lived climate pollutant that lasts only about 12 years in the atmosphere, as an immediate opportunity to address global warming.

Pathways to Dairy Net Zero brings together dairy systems of every size and type, including organizations throughout the dairy supply chain.  Partners are: Global Dairy Platform, International Dairy Federation, Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform, International Livestock Research Institute, Dairy Sustainability Framework and IFCN Dairy Research Network.

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