Organic Dairy Giant Unveils Carbon Footprint in Green Push

At the world’s biggest certified organic dairy, cow manure management accounts for about 18% of its carbon footprint and animal feed about 14% while retailers keeping milk cold in refrigerators makes up 9%.

The figures are the first look into emissions at Horizon Organic, a unit of Danone SA, which released the data as part of a life-cycle assessment on Thursday. The company is employing transparency for its footprint as it works to achieve its goal of becoming carbon-positive in 2025.

The move comes as demand for milk has suffered amid the dairy industry’s reputation of being a big greenhouse-gas emitter. Some consumers have instead turned to plant-based alternatives that they think are more environmentally friendly.

“Horizon has been around for 30 years, and we’re taking a critical look at climate change and the role that dairy plays as a contributor to emissions,” Deanna Bratter, head of sustainable development at Danone North America, said by phone. “You can still choose dairy, but you can choose a better dairy.”

Horizon’s goal is to achieve carbon neutrality from the farm all the way to the consumer, and even eventually reduce, capture or offset more emissions than it produces. It’s working with feed suppliers to reduce tillage in grain fields and encourage cover crops, and optimizing cows’ diets to cut down on the 23% in emissions from animal digestion.

“If you are sure to drink every last drop, that’s also very important so consumers can reduce waste,” Bratter said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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