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Global dairy companies join alliance to cut methane at COP28
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

7 December 2023

Global dairy companies join alliance to cut methane at COP28

Six of the world’s largest dairy companies will soon disclose their methane emissions as part of a new global alliance launched at the UN’s climate summit in Dubai this week. The six members of the Dairy Methane Action Alliance (DMAA) – Danone, Bel Group, General Mills, Lactalis USA, Kraft Heinz and Nestlé – will begin reporting their methane emissions by mid-2024 and will write methane action plans by the end of 2024 to drive down methane emissions in their dairy supply chains. Methane is nearly 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization stating that livestock is responsible for around 30% of global anthropogenic methane emissions. Reducing dairy methane emissions means providing both technical and financial support to farmers around the world to experiment with possible solutions, like feed additives, said Chris Adamo, vice president of government and public affairs at Danone, on a call with reporters. "There’s not one silver bullet. We have to look at this full spectrum of different options for farms across different geographies," he said. Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, commented: “Transforming how we produce food is essential to stabilising the climate. We also need to support farmers as they work to feed the world in the face of climate change. Dairy companies can be part of the fight against climate change by reducing methane pollution. This is an exciting step forward in putting methane action front and centre for the dairy sector." According to a 2021 assessment by the Climate & Clean Air Coalition and the UN's Environment Programme, cutting human-caused methane by 45% this decade would keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. While companies involved in the new alliance do not need to pledge to reduce their methane emissions by a specific amount, stronger measurement and reporting are key tools for the companies to eventually reduce their emissions, driving more accountability. The alliance represents a first step, setting a new model for transparency, participation and emissions reduction in the food sector. With US-based nonprofit environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund leading the effort and providing support for farmers and companies — as well as cutting-edge research on innovative solutions such as changing cows’ diets and improving how manure is managed — the DMAA is poised to make a global impact. Simon Bonnet, sustainable milk purchasing director for Bel Group, said: “We can accelerate and be more efficient by working with the whole dairy ecosystem. This is the purpose of the DMAA: Gather all dairy players and partners to work collectively by setting the base and accelerating on methane mitigation journey. We are thrilled to be a co-founding member of this alliance, to position the dairy sector as part of the solution to fight against climate change while giving access to nutritious, responsible and affordable food for all." Henri Bruxelles, chief sustainability and strategic business development officer at Danone, commented: “As a leading dairy company, Danone is committed to reduce methane emissions from fresh milk 30% by 2030, and to elevate the role of dairy as a solution for health, nature and communities. We are convinced that we can deliver on this ambition by working with other dairy players and partners to set the bar high, develop tools and scale best practices." David Shaw, international director of ESG at Kraft Heinz, stated: “Some of our most beloved brands are cheese brands, emphasising that responsibility, as we aim for net zero emissions by 2050. We anticipate the progress that we’ll be able to make alongside Environmental Defense Fund and other leading companies to mitigate the climate impacts while preserving the legacy of our brands for generations to come.” Rolf Carlson, VP of corporate social responsibility at Lactalis USA, added: “Time is of the essence when it comes to helping farmers adapt to and mitigate climate change. DMAA provides a forum for collaboration among processors, farmers, and researchers where we can identify and elevate the best solutions to accelerate progress on reducing methane emissions, one of the most potent climate pollutants.” Antonia Wanner, global head of ESG operations and deployment at Nestlé, finished: “Nestlé’s net zero roadmap tackles all types of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane. We are working with farmers and our suppliers to find practical and affordable ways to take action now. By joining DMAA, we hope to encourage broader industry cooperation on this important agenda, sharing our insights and learning from others as we make progress towards our goals.”

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