Horizon Organic joins the Carbon Positive movement
Horizon Organic, the largest supplier of organic milk in North America, is pushing the boundaries of the dairy industry with its goal of becoming carbon positive in just five years.
Achieving carbon neutrality, then carbon positivity, by 2025 will require a transformation of the entire value chain of the company. “For dairy, it’s no small feat,” said Deanna Bratter, senior director of public interest and sustainability for Danone North America, Horizon’s parent company.
The company’s first carbon-neutral product will launch by the end of 2021: a half-gallon carton of Growing Years, a whole milk formulated by the company with key nutrients for young children. After 2021, Horizon will continue to certify products in partnership with its family farms and The Carbon Trust.
Bratter points out that working toward carbon neutrality and beyond is transformational for dairy products, even for a brand that has prioritized sustainability, health and animal welfare since its inception in 1991. Achieving Positivity holistic carbon involves every step of Horizon’s life cycle, from farm to fork. This overhaul is significant, given the 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions produced by the agricultural sector.
A holistic transformation of a dairy business
Much of the positive carbon footprint begins with the farm and healthy soil. To support Horizon’s more than 600 farmers across the country, the company is allocating $ 15 million in grants and loans at reduced or no cost to help farmers on their journey to greater sustainability.
“I have been a Horizon Organic farmer for over 20 years and have seen with my own eyes how organic farming can make a difference to healthy soil, happy cows and great milk,” said Ed Zimba. , a Horizon Organic farmer partner at Zimba Dairy, in a statement. Press statement.
Apart from these financial investments, the company institutes on-farm standards and practices, including energy solutions, soil regeneration and improvements in feeding and cow health. The effects of these initiatives will not be simply approximate. Environmental consultancy firm EcoPractices helps farms perform analyzes and monitor progress. Currently, EcoPractices is in the second year of its five soil health studies on Horizon farms. So far, he’s evaluated 11,000 acres at seven dairies in five states.
Carbon reduction efforts will not stop with production. Horizon plans to achieve 100% renewable energy in its manufacturing plants, optimize shipping, and use fully recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging. Part of this target will already be achieved by 2020 when all beverage cartons are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
In addition to these company-wide improvements, Horizon plans to co-create sustainable agriculture programs that offset the additional carbon. These programs might initially resemble the restoration of grasslands and forests, but the compensations might change depending on which actions have the most significant impacts.
How does the shift to a positive carbon footprint benefit the dairy industry?
Achieving carbon positivity requires incredible resources. In 2018, Danone committed> $ 6 million over five years to improve soil health. The company said it was continuing to invest for the long term.
Danone and Horizon see these figures as investments in the sustainability of the company, not only with regard to climate change, but also the relationship of brands with customers. “We believe we have an obligation to act and act quickly, and we know this is going to require investment, but we also know that consumers want to buy products that they trust and believe in.” , said Bratter.
A 2018 survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Company assessing dairy consumption preferences in the United States found that health and transparency were among the most important factors considered when choosing which brands to support. .
As part of the company’s transparency to consumers, Horizon will make its life cycle assessment publicly available. Bratter said the assessment will be completed in about six weeks and the results will give a full picture of the company’s carbon footprint and guide future actions.
The quest for carbon neutrality, then to become carbon positive, is not everything for Horizon Organic; the company insists it sees this transformation holistically. After all, the organic milk supplier is part of the world’s largest B Corp, Danone North America. Part of this certification means that the company aims to promote innovation in its industry so that it can become more socially responsible and sustainable.
“The vision and mission of the B Corp movement is to redefine success in business, and I think this program is a great example of how Horizon brings that to life,” said Bratter. “We can continue to cultivate and create delicious, delicious, nutritious products for consumers the same way we always have, or we can really step into that phase of leadership and redefine success in business.
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