Dairy industry commits to sustainability initiative

by Eric Schroeder
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ROSEMONT, ILL. -- Several elements within the U.S. dairy industry have committed to a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. The announcement was made by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, an organization that consists of companies across the dairy supply chain, including producer organizations, dairy cooperatives, processors and manufacturers such as Hilmar Cheese Co., Leprino Foods, Dairylea Cooperative Inc., Anderson Erickson Dairy, Land O’Lakes and Dairy Farmers of America.

The industry wide effort initially will focus on the fluid milk value chain — from farm to table — and includes a series of projects that will reduce energy use, increase efficiency and help the industry tap into new sources of income.

"Consumers increasingly demand nutritious dairy products that are produced, packaged and distributed in an environmentally sustainable way, and the U.S. dairy industry intends to meet their needs proactively," said Thomas P. Gallagher, chief executive officer of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and Dairy Management Inc. "The dairy industry has a long history of environmental stewardship. Through this sustainability initiative, we continue our legacy of producing high-quality nutritious foods that enrich and sustain life."

Solutions identified for the reduction effort include implementing energy-saving best practices across all supply chain segments, removing barriers to the adoption of methane digesters, and implementing pilot programs to test alternatives to thermal pasteurization for raw milk and reduced-temperature clean-in-place processing technologies.

"Our goal is to help dairy companies to thrive for generations while increasing the health and well-being of consumers, communities, the U.S. dairy industry and the planet," said Connie Tipton, president and c.e.o. of the International Dairy Foods Association. "This industry-wide sustainability initiative offers an outstanding opportunity for all members of the dairy industry."

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