UK – Coffee giant Starbucks and Dutch multinational dairy cooperative Arla have joined hands to explore ways to cut down greenhouse gas emissions associated with dairy farming. 

Dairy accounts for 22% of Starbucks’ global carbon emissions, making it the largest contributor to coffee chain’s carbon footprint. 

Arla, a major dairy processor, also has dairy production as its largest contributor of green house gas emissions with the company estimating that raw milk is produced with emissions of 1.13kg/litre of carbon dioxide equivalent. 

To make dairy more sustainable, the two dairy giants will work together on a three-year pilot to create a sustainable sourcing blueprint for dairy.  

From January 2022, the two companies will develop and pilot a new sustainable dairy sourcing blueprint in the UK. 

14 Arla farmers will be part of the project aiming to identify new farming practices and methods that can reduce emissions associated with dairy production. 

 They will focus on three key areas: environmental stewardship, animal health and welfare, and ensuring profitability for farmers.  

The sourcing blueprint will be underpinned by Arla’s sustainability research and development work, and independently validated by a third party.

The third-party will also help support the project with advise on developing industry best practices.  

The Nature Conservancy, a global, and environmental stewardship non-profit will also support the partnership.  

Alex Rayner, General Manager at Starbucks UK, said: “Purchasing sustainable dairy is integral to our work expanding our environmentally friendly menu options, while enhancing the Starbucks Experience.  

Customising beverages has and always will be at the heart of Starbucks, and this programme will help ensure that best practice carbon reduction strategies are being implemented across our entire milk and dairy alternative selection.”  

Arla Foods is a co-op made up of 9,400 dairy farmers and claims to have some of the most carbon-efficient practices in the world: producing milk with around half the emissions of the global average. 

The cooperative recently developed Climate Checks, a program that leverages the power of big data to support a transition to low-carbon production. 

According to Arla, collecting data from farmers provides the opportunity to learn from best-in-class performers.  

The data shows that the best performing Arla farmers are already able to produce a kilo of raw milk with a farm level footprint well below 0.9 kg of CO2e, the company noted. 

Arla has targeted a 30% reduction in carbon footprint by 2030 from 2015 levels and reaching net-zero by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.  

In this ‘decade of action,’ the company’s farmers aim to ‘triple’ the speed at which they are decarbonising and the recent collaboration with Starbucks might just do the trick for the dairy cooperative. 

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