Danone food company and one of the world’s largest dairy companies, has announced a global action plan to reduce absolute methane emissions from its fresh milk supply chain 30% by 2030. Danone expects to remove 1.2 million tons carbon dioxide equivalent of methane emissions in this time.
This ambitious plan builds on the progress Danone has been making in recent years, already reducing its methane emissions by 14% between 2018 to 2020.
A reduction in methane emissions will have immediate benefits for the climate that reductions in carbon dioxide cannot achieve on their own, according to the The IPCC Working Group II (WGII) which assesses the impacts of climate change, from a worldwide to a regional view of ecosystems and biodiversity, and of humans and their diverse societies, cultures and settlements.
Danone is the first food company to set a methane reduction target and align with the ambition of the Global Methane Pledge launched at COP26. The company will report on its methane emissions, as part of its extra financial disclosure.
Dairy production from cattle
Dairy production from cattle makes up an estimated 8% of total human-caused methane emissions, as part of agriculture and livestock activities which represent approximately 40% of global methane emissions. Danone says it is determined to play its role to reduce methane emissions, focusing on:
- working with farmers to implement regenerative dairy practices and develop innovative solutions;
- collaborating and partnering with peers, governments and Environmental Defense Fund to scale innovation, reporting and advance financing models;
- advocating and engaging with governments to improve methane policies, data and reporting as well as funding for research and to support farmers transitioning to regenerative dairy practices.
Antoine de Saint-Affrique, Chief Executive Officer of Danone, said: "Dairy products are an affordable source of nutrition for many people, at the core of our mission to bring health through food.
"As one of the largest dairy companies, we take the challenge of both producing more to feed a growing population and greatly reducing emissions and impact on climate.
"Our ambitious plan to reduce methane emissions – in line with Global Methane Pledges from 150 countries – is a commitment to build regenerative dairy. This step change requires a collective effort. Working with farmers, partners and governments, we have the power and duty to build farming models that benefit the climate and society, taking a step forward to tackling global warming together."
Working with farmers to transition to regenerative dairy
Danone works directly with 58,000 dairy farmers across 20 countries and has already supported projects for dairy farms in 14 countries, through its regenerative agriculture programme, initiatives such as Farming for Generations and with Danone Ecosystem. While these projects are holistic in nature, with benefits on biodiversity, soil quality and reduction of the use of chemicals in farming, reduction of GHG emissions - including methane - has been a priority. The company says it will continue to accelerate its efforts across geographies and across diverse farming systems, working hand-in-hand with dairy farmer partners. In 2023, it will launch 4 new initiatives for methane reduction in Africa, Europe and the United States.
Collaboration and partnerships
Danone is launching a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, a global non-profit environmental organisation working in nearly 30 countries. The Environmental Defense Fund will work with Danone on:
• Improving science, data and reporting for agricultural methane emissions to ensure climate benefits are real and durable.
• Advocating for action from the dairy industry and governments to prioritize agricultural methane solutions.
• Advancing innovative financing models, such as co-funding models between companies and governments, to deploy farmer-friendly solutions, faster.
Fred Krupp, President of EDF, commented: “Cutting methane emissions is one of the fastest and most effective ways to slow climate change. The dairy sector can play an important role in driving these reductions while boosting farmer livelihoods and increasing food security and nutrition.
“Danone is the first food company raising this type of ambition, but it can’t be the last. This is the decisive decade for climate action. We invite other food companies, farmers and policymakers to join us on a path toward 2030 climate results.”