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Danone wants to reduce methane emissions by the cows that supply it with milk by 30% by 2030

The agri-food group Danone announced on Tuesday January 17 that it intended to reduce by 30% by 2030, compared to 2020, methane emissions linked to the breeding of cows which supply its factories with fresh milk. “We are going to see how we can improve practices in general on farms”, said Jeanette Coombs-Lanot, spokesperson for the group. Among the solutions mentioned: use of less-emitting breeds, optimization of diets, prolonged maintenance of cow production, capture of manure emissions to recover them as biogas, etc.

The environmental balance of cattle farming is burdened by the digestion process of cows which expel, mainly by belching, methane: the same as town gas, whose heating power is twenty-five times greater than carbon dioxide. . Methane also escapes from manure.

“Danone is the first food group to set a specific methane emissions reduction target”, he argues in a press release. This objective is in line with the “Global Methane Pledge” : a hundred countries had committed at COP26 in 2021 to reduce methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, compared to 2020.

Danone’s target covers fresh milk, purchased directly from 58,000 dairy farms in 20 countries, which accounts for 70% of its methane emissions. It does not extend to milk powder in baby formula. Danone says it has reduced “about 14%” its methane emissions between 2018 and 2020.

Change the power supply, filter the methane…

In Morocco, where the group collects milk from very small producers, “There is a lot of progress that can be made by optimizing production”illustrated Mme Coombs-Lanot.

Improving the milk yield of each cow makes it possible to reduce, for equal production, the number of animals present on a farm, and therefore emissions. Danone is also interested in innovations that promise to filter the methane emitted by cows – by means of a device installed on a halter (piece of harness placed on the head) – or to reduce its production at the source, thanks to seaweed-based food additives, for example.

A report by the United Nations Environment Program pointed out in 2021 that technological solutions had only one “limited potential” to significantly reduce emissions from the agricultural sector.

He first advocated changes in behavior, such as improving the management of livestock and the adoption of diets in which meat and dairy products are more discreet or even disappear.

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The World with AFP

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