​Udderly Sustainable: McDonald's and FrieslandCampina Shaping the Future of Dairy Farming

​Udderly Sustainable: McDonald's and FrieslandCampina Shaping the Future of Dairy Farming

Posted by Emily on 18th Oct 2023

McDonald's and FrieslandCampina, two major players in the food industry, are joining forces to tackle climate change by cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions within the dairy farming sector.

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Dirk Tussing from Chicago IL, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here's what's happening: FrieslandCampina, which has been supplying essential dairy ingredients to McDonald's for over three decades, is now focusing on a more environmentally friendly approach to dairy production. This means they're working hard to reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced during the process. Roger Loo, president of trading at FrieslandCampina, mentioned that this partnership would help dairy farmers make positive changes for the environment and local wildlife.

So, what exactly are the farmers doing? They're making small but impactful changes, like letting cows spend more time outdoors grazing, tweaking their diets to reduce emissions, and handling waste more effectively. They're also using renewable energy sources, which FrieslandCampina then uses in its operations.

Spanning the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, FrieslandCampina works with 15,137 dairy farmers. But that's not all; they're also teaming up with other companies to amplify their environmental efforts. For example, they joined forces with Mondelēz International, aiming to significantly reduce carbon emissions from the milk used in chocolates and biscuits by 2025.

2012-05-12 DOMO Bedum met tankauto FrieslandCampina Jos @ FPS-Groningen, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's more: Last year, FrieslandCampina started using a special feed additive called Bovaer, which reduces methane emissions from cows. This was part of a big project involving 158 farms and 20,000 cows in the Netherlands, resulting in a whopping 10,000-ton reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions from methane. The success of this trial means it could be a game-changer for the dairy industry in meeting climate goals.

What's the incentive for farmers?

FrieslandCampina tracks the environmental progress of farms using a special tool, rewarding those who make significant strides in areas like climate action and biodiversity. Farmers can earn up to €1.50 for every 100 kilos of milk they produce sustainably, encouraging further investment in eco-friendly practices.

In a nutshell, through cooperation and innovative strategies, these companies are making concerted efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, helping the planet one step at a time.