FINLAND – Sustainably produced food is a hot market and companies are increasingly putting more emphases on reducing their carbon footprint.

To increase the company’s competitive advantage, Finnish dairy products manufacturer, Valio has set an ambitious goal aiming to become a carbon neutral dairy by 2035.

Valio says that the objective will both help the company to fight climate change and provide food manufacturers with sustainably produced food ingredients, factors which are currently influencing consumers’ buying behaviour.

The company believes that ingredient suppliers who are committed to sustainable operations can provide competitive edge to their customers in the food industry.

 “Our goal is to cut dairy’s carbon footprint to zero by 2035,” Timo Pajari, SVP, Food Solutions Sales at Valio says.

“It is a good example of our concrete sustainability actions. Instead of just compensating for emissions, we are making major changes in our production chain in order to bring the carbon footprint of dairy down to zero in the future.

“Our 2035 goal − carbon neutral dairy − means that the same amount of emissions is reduced and removed from the atmosphere as is generated on the farms, in transportation, at the plants, and in package manufacturing.”

Valio said that it is committed to enhancing transparency, safety, quality and traceability along the supply chain to drive sustainability in the company.

“Transparency is in the heart of Valio’s operations. All milk is traceable back to an individual farm,” Pajari says.

“All Valio farms are becoming carbon farms, as we organise carbon farming trainings for Valio’s dairy farmers. In 2019–2020, we will train at least 200 volunteer farms. All Valio farms will complete the training by 2035,” says Pajari.

Another concrete climate action is the development of the new Valio CARBO grass seed mix that further improves the carbon binding ability of grasslands.

Other Valio’s climate measures include the usage of biogas to replace fossil fuels and the development of plant-based packaging, for example.

The first biogas-fuelled milk collection and distribution trucks hit the road in 2019, and Valio said it is working towards using cow manure to produce biogas.

“In Finland, the production of carbon neutral milk is an achievable goal, as the production methods differ from those elsewhere. For instance, cows are fed mainly grass instead of soy,” Pajari added.