Global food and beverage company Danone announced a new sustainability commitment to tackle a major source of its greenhouse gas footprint, with an action plan to achieve a 30% absolute reduction in methane emissions from its fresh milk supply chain by 2030.
Methane, emitted from activities such as agriculture, fossil fuel production and transport, coal mining and landfills, is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, with as much as 80x the warming power of CO2. Rapid reduction in methane emissions is seen as one of the most effective near-term actions that can be taken in order to help achieve the global climate goal to limit warming to 1.5°C.
Methane emissions represent 25% of Danone’s full scope emissions, with approximately 70% of these attributed to fresh milk, and the remaining 30% by indirect dairy ingredients.
Danone stated that it expects to remove 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent of methane emissions by 2030.
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.”
The company outlined a series of initiatives it will pursue to achieve its goal, including working with farmers to implement regenerative dairy practices and develop innovative solutions. Danone said that it works directly with 58,000 diary farmers, and has supported projects for dairy farms in 14 countries, through its regenerative agriculture program and other programs.
In addition, the company said that it will collaborate with peers, governments and Environmental Defense Fund to scale innovation, reporting and advance financing models, and will advocate with governments for improved methane policies, data and reporting, as well as for funding for research and to support farmers transitioning to regenerative dairy practices.
With its new target, Danone said that it has become the first company to align with the Global Methane Pledge. The Pledge, launched by the US and EU at COP26, is aimed at reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, compared to 2020 levels.
Danone, which reduced its methane emissions by 14% between 2018 to 2020, aligned its new targets with The Global Methane Pledge, a commitment by the US and EU at COP26 aimed at reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, compared to 2020 levels. Since launching, the pledge has reached more than 130 signatory countries, representing over half of global methane emissions.
de Saint-Affrique added:
“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.”