An online tool has been created for dairy processors to track their carbon footprint as the industry aims to cut emissions by 25% by 2020.
The Innovation Center for US Dairy unveiled Dairy Plant Smart and Dairy Fleet Smart for companies to calculate and cut emissions from processing and transportation.
Dairy Plant Smart, for plants that process fluid milk, can help determine how much energy is used in production, transportation, refrigeration and packaging, and find ways of cutting energy use.
Dairy Fleet Smart looks at transportation, fuels and fuel-efficiency for milk from the production facility to storage or retail.
The tools feature case studies highlighting best practices and the associated cost and energy savings.
The respective calculators allow the industry to benchmark their energy efficiency performance against the average to identify areas for improvement.
Dairy Plant Smart and Dairy Fleet Smart aim to help the sector achieve a combined reduction of 705,457 metric tons of emissions and $108m in annual business savings toward the industry wide goal.
Since the launch of the US Dairy Sustainability Commitment in 2008, the centre has conducted research looking at the environmental, social and economic sustainability from farm to table to put tools in the hands of decision-makers to drive innovation.
Three years of research
Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for US Dairy, said: “We’ve spent three years in the field gathering research to support our science- and practice-based approach to improving sustainability across the value chain — from growing crops to feed our dairy cows; to processing and manufacturing real, fresh, nutrient-rich dairy foods and beverages; through consumption and packaging disposal.
“The key learning we identified about dairy’s impacts and opportunities for improvement made these new resources possible.
“Sustainability has become a key business strategy for the industry and its future development.
“In addition to industry-level work, the Innovation Center built upon the findings of the GHG Life Cycle Assessment for Fluid Milk to develop and test a suite of measurement tools...”