Sustainably produced food is a hot market and the carbon footprint of food products is already a decisive factor in consumers’ buying behaviour. As the world’s most innovative dairy, Valio has set an ambitious goal: carbon neutral dairy by 2035. This objective both helps to fight climate change and to provide food manufacturers with sustainably produced food ingredients.
Sustainably produced ingredients help food manufacturers compete in the market
A sustainable production chain is a competitive advantage for food manufacturers who want to answer the market demand. Ingredient suppliers who are committed to sustainable operations can provide competitive edge to their customers in the food industry.
“Our goal is to cut dairy’s carbon footprint to zero by 2035. It is a good example of our concrete sustainability actions. Instead of just compensating for emissions, we are making major changes in our production chain in order to bring the carbon footprint of dairy down to zero in the future,” says Timo Pajari, SVP, Food Solutions Sales at Valio.
“Our 2035 goal − carbon neutral dairy − means that the same amount of emissions is reduced and removed from the atmosphere as is generated on the farms, in transportation, at the plants, and in package manufacturing,” continues Pajari. Safety and quality of raw materials are also crucial elements of sustainability. Food manufacturers and consumers alike want to know where the raw materials come from. That is why traceability and transparent procurement are important customer requirements in ingredients sales.
“Transparency is in the heart of Valio’s operations. All milk is traceable back to an individual farm. Finnish cows are among the healthiest in the world, and every cow at Valio farms even has a name,” Pajari says.
The entire dairy production chain under scrutiny for smaller carbon footprint
“All Valio farms are becoming carbon farms, as we organise carbon farming trainings for Valio’s dairy farmers. In 2019–2020, we will train at least 200 volunteer farms. All Valio farms will complete the training by 2035,” says Pajari. Another concrete climate action is the development of the new Valio CARBO® grass seed mix that further improves the carbon binding ability of grasslands. Other Valio’s climate measures include the usage of biogas to replace fossil fuels and the development of plant-based packaging, for example. The first biogas-fuelled milk collection and distribution trucks hit the road in 2019, and Valio is working towards using cow manure to produce biogas.
“In Finland, the production of carbon neutral milk is an achievable goal, as the production methods differ from those elsewhere. For instance, cows are fed mainly grass instead of soy,” says Pajari.