On the occasion of Earth Day, the Lactalis Group wants to celebrate the women and men who, all along its Dairy value chain, turn innovations into impactful on-ground projects.
We know there are carbon emissions out of Dairy, but we believe it has an even greater role to play in the Nutrition of Mankind. Then we consider it is of our duty to investigate locally available solutions to mitigate our carbon footprint in a 360° (but still) hands-on approach, partnering with our stakeholders.
Let’s give the speech to the expert leaders, exposing some of their projects paving the way for our common Journey to a shared Climate resilience over the value chain.
#SDG9 #SDG12 #SDG13
Our raw milk collection : curbing carbon emissions through Feed.
Depending on the range of dairy products we locally produce, the raw milk production step of our operations generates more than two thirds of our total carbon emissions. That is why, to deliver on our ambitions to mitigate Climate change, we enter into close partnerships with external experts and our partnering dairy farms.
In 2019, Lactalis joined the “Eco-Sens” project consolidated by Valorex, which aims to use a monitoring tool of cows’ enteric methane emissions in order to manage their reduction. The monitoring tool uses a logarithm for estimating CH4 emissions from the fatty acid profile of milk. The logarithm was developed in 2007 in France, has been recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is an essential part of the Eco-Méthane initiative in which some Lactalis France Suppliers have been involved since 2012. To date, around 130 Lactalis partnering farms in France are part of projects using the logarithm and therefore benefit from this monitoring. Some additional trials are currently taking place in Lactalis partnering farms in Sweden and the Czech Republic with encouraging results.
In 2021, the Lactalis Group also became a member of the Cool Farm Alliance (CFA), an ecosystem of organizations (companies, NGOs, universities) developing a common tool to measure greenhouse gas emissions. It converts many on-farm metrics (not only methane emissions from ruminant digestion) to calculate a global carbon footprint of the farms. Combined with feeding initiatives like Eco-Sens, it provides a decision-making tool to mitigate environmental impacts.
Finally, apart from being biodiversity sanctuaries, forests also play a key role in the regulation of carbon cycles as carbon sinks. To preserve these natural assets, the Lactalis Group developed a detailed methodology to estimate deforestation risks linked to dairy animals feeding systems over its value chain, and raises its farmers’ awareness on the importance of increasing farms protein self-sufficiency and traced Feed inputs. As an illustration, in Sweden we have adhered to the Soy Dialogue initiative, ensuring 100% of the soy used by our collected farmers is RTRS or ProTerra certified.
Our industrial operations : sobriety, efficiency and transition
Environmental performance is fully integrated in the objectives of our plants, and the Group implements a proactive training policy to keep our local experts in line with best practices and available solutions. To take their part in our common effort to reduce carbon footprint, our teams explore project options that are best suited to local social and environmental specificities.
As an example, our Verdun whey plant will, by 2022, be home to the largest solar thermal power plant in France and the largest in Europe supplying heat to an industrial site. Built by the Bordeaux-based start-up NEWHEAT, it will contribute to decarbonizing our plant’s heat production, through 15,000 m2 of solar thermal collectors and innovative storage solutions providing the necessary power for the site’s new drying tower.
Our logistics and supply chain : caring down to the last kilometers
Logistics and warehouses management are everywhere in our value chain, from raw milk collection at farms down to the last kilometers to reach our clients. Our teams are fully committed to reduce carbon footprint through different ways: optimizing trucks loading, cutting down traveled distances, spurring the use of alternative fuels.
Stanislava Paquet, Quality, Health & Safety and Environment Director at Lactalis Logistics & Transport and BPA (Lactalis fleet), and leader of Lactalis CSR “Transport & Logistics” Working Group, explains some of our challenges and projects :
Q : What are the CSR “Transport & Logistics” Working Group objectives and challenges?
SP : We gathered representatives of our 10 biggest countries considering mileage, to propose Lactalis commitment options and a range of concrete actions to curb our emissions. We take a bottom-up approach, giving the speech to our local experts sharing their sustainable initiatives to ease internal benchmark, get inspiration and possibly replicate. As it is a cross-cultural work, with a mix of CSR maturities, final deliverables are consistent with our Lactalis’ “hands-on” DNA.
Q : Can you give us examples of achievements and objectives for 2021?
SP : As part of Lactalis Logistics & Transport division, our Transports Guy ROBIN (TGR) activities have been delivering on low-carbon actions for four years, signing the “CO2 Charter” (a French multi-operators initiative) in 2017. In 2021, we are working to get the “CO2 Label”, and a 5% reduction in our emissions in France (in g.CO2/Ton.Km), as well as joining the EVCOM program, at a European wide scale, to raise awareness to all our logistical partners for a more sustainable Supply Chain. As the cold chain requires specific attention in our efforts to curb emissions, we are also participating in the ECLER program leaded by CEMAFROID, focusing on efficient energy management for refrigeration equipment. Initiated in 2021, this program includes trainings for our drivers. Last but not least, we are considering alternative fuels options for our trucks fleet.