Renewables and carbon sequestration: Arla Foods outlines roadmap to net-zero

Dairy giant Arla Foods has unveiled a ‘climate roadmap’ to net-zero emissions across the business, outlining plans to ramp up renewables and biogas use and help farmers switch to more sustainable practices.

Renewables and carbon sequestration: Arla Foods outlines roadmap to net-zero

At the start of the year, Arla Foods more than doubled its decarbonisation reduction goal of 30% across its operations to 63% by 2030, as part of approved science-based targets that will help the business reach net-zero by 2050.

According to Arla, the new target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as consistent with reductions required to keep global warming to 1.5°C.

The company has this week launched its Climate Roadmap – Towards Carbon Net Zero Dairy, which outlines the solutions and steps the company will take to deliver on its climate goals.

The roadmap breaks emissions up into five areas: farming, which accounts for 83% of emissions, production (4%), packaging (2%), logistics and transport (2%), and ‘other’ (9%).

Arla has already reduced farm-based emissions by 14%, transport emissions by 25%, production emissions by 24% and packaging emissions by 18%. All of these reductions have been measured against a 2015 baseline.

On production, Arla has now outlined plans to switch to 100% renewable electricity across all production sites by 2025, which is expected to deliver a 58% reduction in emissions required by 2030. The remaining 42% reduction will be delivered through optimising energy efficiency.

On transport and logistics, Arla will invest in alternative fuels such as biogas generated from slurry. This will deliver an 86% reduction by 2030 with the remaining reductions coming from optimising logistics and transport routes.

For packaging, Arla will convert to 100% recyclable packaging across branded products by 2025 and remove all virgin fossil plastics by 2030.

Scope 3 remains a different challenge and Arla has outlined steps to deliver a 30% reduction across the value chain by 2030.

Arla has focused on data analytics to help progress towards its net-zero target. The company has completed what it claims is one of the biggest analyses of data on Scope 3 (indirect) carbon emissions in the dairy sector globally.

Arla received and analysed data from more than 8,100 supplier farms last year, relating to metrics such as what kinds of fuels are used, how many animals are owned, what they are fed, which fertilisers are used and how waste is managed.  Using ‘big data’ analysis verified independently, verified average carbon figures were generated.

For farm-based emissions, Arla will help farmers switch to “more sustainable feed production practices”, which it claims will deliver a 27% contribution to the on-farm emissions reductions needed. Farm resource usage, switching to renewables and biogas, improved breeding practices, green fertilisers and peat soils and carbon sequestration have all been earmarked a solutions that will deliver the Scope 3 goal.

Last year, the company also outlined new measures to help farmers across the supply chain generate their own renewable energy and sell any excess.

Arla’s senior sustainability manager Ben Wood said: “Dairy has a defining decade ahead. The demand for dairy is growing around the world and we have a growing population to feed. But we must face into the challenges of reducing emissions to create a healthy planet alongside healthy people.

“Achieving approval for our scope 1 & 2 emissions from the SBTi is a key milestone on our way to ensuring we tackle the issues around food production and being one of the first dairy companies globally to get this approval highlights our commitment to sustainable food. Milk is among the most nutritious, natural and accessible products on the shelves today, and our climate roadmap is another step on our long-term journey to producing it in the best possible way for the planet.”

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