Wednesday, 08 May 2024 15:12

Mars to help farmers reduce emissions

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Mars is launching a sustainable dairy plan to work with dairy farmers and cut emissions by 50% Mars is launching a sustainable dairy plan to work with dairy farmers and cut emissions by 50%

One of Fonterra’s global customers, Mars is launching an ambitious sustainable dairy plan to work with dairy farmers and cut emissions by 50%.

The food conglomerate is investing US$47 million over three years to reduce the carbon footprint of its dairy sourcing.

The company says the initiative, dubbed Moo’ving Dairy Forward, will work to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy in line with its 2030 ambition to slash emissions by 50%from a 2015 baseline. Mars says its broader climate cash commitment, announced late last year, totals US$1 billion over the next three years.

Mars says it will work with “a cohort of industry leaders” to implement a host of meaningful on-farm interventions focused on critical areas such as enteric methane reduction, efficient manure management and sustainable feed production.

As part of the plan, a new industry-leading collaboration with European dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina will result in the establishment of the Mars-FrieslandCampina Sustainable Dairy Development Program – an unprecedented initiative that will dedicate a group of farms to Mars’ dairy supply.

To deliver more sustainable dairy, the program will serve as a platform where new practices and innovative technologies can be refined and scaled-up in a focused and accelerated environment, with a goal of broader adoption across the entire co-op.

It’s not clear when this programme will be extended to Fonterra suppliers. However, Mars is already partnering with Fonterra and Sea Forest to explore sourcing from their SEAFEED seaweed food supplement trial. The trial seeks to demonstrate how SEAFEED helps reduce the quantity of methane cows generate in digesting their food.

Fonterra is also working with Nestle with Nestle to develop a commercially viable net zero carbon emissions dairy farm.

Over the five-year project the farm, run with co-partner Dairy Trust Taranaki, will examine all aspects of farm operations to reduce carbon with the aim of cutting emissions by 30% by mid-2027 and a 10-year ambition of reaching net zero carbon emissions. The demonstration farm at the centre of the project is a 290 hectare property surrounding Fonterra’s Whareroa site.

Mars Snacking chief R&D, procurement and sustainability officer Amanda Davies says they're doing their part to keep the planet healthy “is an absolute non-negotiable for us at Mars”.

“But our vision for more sustainable dairy will only become a reality with the support and actions of farmers and our suppliers. Which is why, as part of our Moo’ving Dairy Forward Sustainable Dairy Plan, we’re putting millions of dollars directly back into the pockets of farmers through our contracts to help them make climate smart changes to the way they farm. Together, I know that we can forge a path that helps address climate change head on and contributes to reshaping our wider industry for a more sustainable future.”

Building on an ethos of investing in long-term innovation, Mars has launched three pilot “net zero” dairy farms with the DMK Group in Germany. The sites will study and aim to implement new science and technology with an ambition to create a scalable and economically viable pathway to net zero dairy.

Dairy is the second largest contributor to the carbon footprint of Mars’ Snacking business and raw ingredients account for over 70% of the organisation’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

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