Valio introduces Carbo Farm calculator to help lower its farmers’ CO2e emissions 30%Christian Fernsby ▼ | February 21, 2020
Valio’s aim is to cut the carbon footprint of milk to net zero by 2035.
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Topics: Valio farmer emissions
These actions are likely to result in dairy products with a lower carbon footprint.
The methodology behind the tool is certified by global climate and sustainability experts, the Carbon Trust.
Emissions from milk production can be reduced in many ways.
One of the most important methods is carbon farming, i.e. farming methods that maximize the carbon sequestration capacity of fields.
The carbon footprint also decreases by increasing the per-hectare harvest of grass for feeding cows.
Cow welfare also has a big climate impact: emissions per litre of milk are reduced when cows live longer and produce milk well.
The proper handling of manure also reduces emissions: tilling manure into soil rather than spraying it reduces nutrient runoff, and less industrial fertilizers are needed.
Some dairy farms are already using their own biogas plants.
The energy they produce from manure can be used to heat the farm and to power the milking equipment, for example.
Over the decades, Finnish dairy farms have done a lot of work to reduce their carbon footprint.
The global average carbon footprint of raw milk is currently 2.5 CO2e per litre (Source: FAO).
In Finland, we estimate the figure is around 1 CO2e per litre.
Using the calculator, emissions reductions can be measured and verified at the farm level.
"Finnish cows’ methane emissions per litre of milk have halved in 50 years as a result of improved animal productivity, health, and nutrition.
"Cows today can produce more milk with the same amount of feed.
"Despite this development, our climate impact is still significant.
"We are humble about the challenges and we are pursuing ways to lower the figures even further.
"This is the first carbon footprint calculator in Finland developed specifically for dairy farms," says Aleksi Astaptsev, Valio’s scientist who developed the calculation model.
Valio’s carbon footprint calculation uses the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodology and data from Valio’s own scientific work that started as animal nutrition research 10 years ago.
"It is great to see Valio create this carbon calculator in order to help their farmers drive down their carbon emissions.
"It demonstrates the company’s commitment to minimising its emissions and we are pleased to have certified its calculator," says John Newton, Associate Director, Carbon Trust.
Valio will continue developing the carbon footprint calculator.
Life cycle models for calculating the carbon footprint of food products do not currently include the soil’s carbon balance.
So the carbon footprint of milk, or of any other food, doesn’t include the emissions or carbon binding of the soil. ■