Leveraging data to speed the transition to low-carbon production
European dairy cooperative Arla has developed the program Climate Checks, using a standardised tool which identifies the carbon footprint of its dairy farm suppliers. The data collected includes the CO2 footprint of 95% of Arla’s milk pool in 2020, totalling 7,986 farms across seven European countries.
The Climate Checks tool will be used for internal benchmarking, knowledge sharing across the industry and for scientific analysis to accelerate decarbonisation of dairy.
Data is collected, collated and interpreted to calculate on-farm footprints of Arla farms in the six countries. The data identifies five universal levers, which explain the majority of differences between the carbon footprint of individual farms regardless of size, geography, breed or landscape conditions. The levers include
- better feed efficiency to improve milk yield;
- precision feeding reducing surplus protein in feed rations
- precise fertiliser management to reduce nitrogen surplus from feed production;
- a healthy and long life for the cow to improve milk yield and
- better land use management for better crop yields.
With the tool, Arla has identified it produces raw milk with a footprint of 1.15kg of CO2e per kg milk, making it a climate efficient global milk producer compared to the UN FAO average of 2.5kg of CO2e per kg milk.
By 2030, Arla aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% (from 2015 levels) to reach net zero by 2050. Arla farmer members are aiming to triple the pace of decarbonisation on farm.