Dairy Climate Change Question 5

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Does the brand (company) also have a policy to reduce or compensate the methane emissions generated from the dairy farms (that are beyond own operations)?

  • Dutch version: Heeft het merk (bedrijf) een beleid om de methaan uitstoot, veroorzaakt door de melkveehouderijen, te verminderen of te compenseren?
  • German version: Verfolgt der Markenhersteller eine Strategie zu Verringerung oder Kompensation der Methanemissionen aus Milchviehbetrieben?

References and Guidelines

Cows, goats, sheep and several other animals belong to a class of animals called ruminants. Ruminants have four stomachs and digest their food in their stomachs instead of in their intestines, as humans do. Ruminants eat food, regurgitate it as cud and eat it again. The stomachs are filled with bacteria that aid in digestion, but also produce methane. When a cow "burps", this methane is released.

Methane emissions also appear during the anaerobic fermentation of manure. The methane emissions account for 40%-50% of the total dairy GHG. Methane emissions from enteric fermentation can be reduced by providing cows with certain food and methane emissions created through the fermentation of manure can be reduced by applying certain manure storage structures.[1]

For now having a policy with concrete measures (such as changing the cow's diet) to reduce methane emissions is sufficient for this question.

Please note that we specifically ask for the a reduction policy for methane, so only mentioning a reduction policy for carbon emissions is not good enough. Mentioning a reduction policy for Greenhouse Gasses is only good enough when methane is mentioned as part of it or when the brand makes clear that it has a reduction policy for ALL GHG emissions, which naturally includes methane.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that 52% of the Greenhouse Gas emissions of the dairy industry comes from methane. However, the Wageningen University and Research centre (WUR) states that measuring the amount of methane emissions is very hard.

The KringloopCompas is a tool for farmers to get insights in the environmental impacts of the farms, including all greenhouse gasses, which include methane emissions. This tool is a very good start for farmers and dairy companies when aiming to reduce methane emissions.

Answering guidelines

Answer Yes:

  • [Brand] has a concrete policy to reduce methane emissions such as [..](see link/page).

Answer No:

  • [Brand] explicitly says not to reduce methane emissions [..] (see link/page)

Answer ?:

  • [Brand] mentions the target to reduce methane emissions, but does not provide any clear policies/goals/actions/initiatives/tangible results on reducing methane emissions (see link/page).
  • [Brand] does not communicate a policy to reduce the methane emissions that is generated from the dairy farms beyond own operations on its website.