AMERSFOORT, NETHERLANDS – A collaboration between Dutch multinational dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina and Danone contributed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 17% between 2015 and 2020, according to data from the Annual Nutrient Cycling Assessment.

FrieslandCampina’s dairy farmers implemented sustainable farming practices and green energy products, applying them to dairy ingredients provided to Danone. Close to 10,000 FrieslandCampina member dairy farms tracked the size of their carbon footprints and received other data from the Annual Nutrient Cycling Assessment to track their progress.

Simone Boitelle, director of global corporate affairs, FrieslandCampina, said the collaboration with Danone produced great results.

“Supporting farmers to produce milk in balance with nature is the key to a more sustainable, climate neutral and nature positive future,” Boitelle said. “I am very proud of our member farmers who make this possible.”

Dairy farmers within the cooperative took different measures to reduce GHG emissions on their respective farms. Some harvested more protein from their own land, reducing the impact of sourcing feed from far away.

Some farmers optimized their cows’ nutritious diets, thereby supporting health and welfare while reducing enteric methane emissions.

Other measures taken focused on energy. Solar panels, windmills and manure digesters generated green electricity. Farmers also avoided fossil fuel use by utilizing bio-based diesel. Some recovered heat from milk cooking. The manure digesters also reduced methane emissions. Additionally, the green energy created by the farmers was used for FrieslandCampina’s production locations.

“Sustainable dairy farming is a key priority in Danone’s journey to achieving net zero emissions,” said Yann-Gaël Rio, Danone’s global vice president for nature and agriculture. “This partnership demonstrates that. By combining our expertise, we can accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices to help reduce the climate impact of dairy farming. While this is a great step, there is more to be done, and we are looking forward to supporting more farmers in their transition by extending this partnership for an additional three years.”

As the two companies continue collaborating, they have stated a goal of reducing by more than 7% GHG emissions from the production of ingredients sourced from FrieslandCampina. That would add up to a GHG emission reduction of close to 25% in total, over the course of the partnership.