Diary giant Danone has pledged to reduce its methane emissions linked to dairy production by 30 % by 2030 – claiming to be the first food company in the world to do so. Belgium is playing a pioneering role in the ambitious project.
Danone has already reduced methane emissions by around 14 % between 2018 and 2020. Now the dairy producer is setting the bar even higher: emissions must be reduced by 30 % by 2030. This ambition is part of the French company’s efforts to limit climate warming to 1.5 °C: after all, methane represents 25 % of the producer’s global greenhouse gas emissions, and is (still) much more harmful than CO2.
Reducing methane emissions therefore has immediate climate benefits beyond what a mere reduction in CO2 emissions would achieve, the manufacturer claims. Dairy production represents 8 % of man-made methane emissions, as part of agricultural and livestock activities that together account for some 40 % of global methane emissions.
Key role for Belgium
Belgium plays a key role in meeting the targets. A test project with the cattle feed ingredient Bovaer (a DSM brand) led to promising results: cows emitted significantly less methane, while the quality and composition of the milk remained unchanged. In the coming years, this will reduce methane emissions from the herd by between 20 and 40 %, Danone Belgium hopes.
Together with dairy farmers, the company is also working on converting cow manure into renewable energy and has set up a soil health project. In Rotselaar (near Brussels), the dairy producer has one of its largest production sites, making Actimel for all of Europe with milk supplied by Belgian farmers.