Dairy industry source slams Arla for CO2 ‘greenwash’

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dairy farming

Dairy industry source slams Arla for CO2 ‘greenwash’
A well-placed dairy industry source has attacked Arla for publishing what he describes as ‘greenwash’ in its 2011 report detailing progress on environmental targets.

The source, who wished to remain anonymous, took issue with Arla’s claim in its Environmental Report 2011 that it would reduce overall CO2 emissions 34% by 2020, and said he suspected the firm was using an “outdated”​ 2005 baseline for the claim.

“On the face of it, this figure is aggressive and impressive, but measured against a six-year benchmark, then perhaps less so,”​ the source said.

'Should set example’

An Arla spokeswoman confirmed to FoodManufacture.co.uk that the dairy giant was using a 2005 baseline, but referred us to the report for evidence of how the company was “delivering”​ against its environmental targets.

The claim features prominently on the report’s second page, above an introductory statement by Arla UK ceo Peter Lauritzen.

“The successful business of the future will have no choice other than to achieve a low-carbon footprint, and I invite you to read more about the holistic approach we are taking at Arla,”​ Lauritzen said.

But the source said: “Surely this major dairy company should set an example and use the newest available figures as a benchmark for comparison against its peers.

“If they weren’t trying to hide the fact that they’re using 2005 figures as a benchmark, then they would have published this fact. But this isn’t apparent from the information I’ve seen.”

Different baselines

Nonetheless, on p.11 of the report, Arla does cite 2005 as the base year for a 19.7% reduction in CO2 within dairy operations up to 2010, as well as an overall CO2 reduction of 14.7% over the same period.

The report also details Arla’s plans to make its controversial proposed Aylesbury ‘super dairy’“carbon zero”​, and its ambition to use the minimum energy possible per litre of milk.

Supply chain director, Lars Dalsgaard claimed that “continual improvement and investment in energy efficiency at our dairies, plus … energy reduction initiatives, contribute to decreasing our CO2 footprint”.

In its 2011 Annual Report, Arla rival Dairy Crest reveals that it is currently working against a 2007 baseline to cut overall CO2 emissions 30% by 2020.

By 2015, Robert Wiseman Dairies is targeting a 15% reduction in group fuel use, a 25% reduction in electricity use and a gas reduction target of 30%, with all targets measured against a 2009/10 fiscal year baseline.

Related topics: Dairy

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