It is one of the most comprehensive regenerative agriculture dairy programs in the US, and results to date represent more than 54,386 tons of sequestered carbon and 480,188 tons of soil prevented from erosion.
The program supports Danone’s North American farmer partners who supply brands including Oikos®, Two Good®, Horizon Organic® and Silk®
WHITE PLAINS, NY and BROOMFIELD, Colo., November 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Danone North America, a food and beverage leader with a diverse portfolio of dairy and plant-based brands, today announced the five results of its multi-year, multi-million dollar regenerative agriculture program. which includes the extraction of both milk and almond milk. Since its launch in 2017, the program has grown to 144,771 acres, far exceeding the company’s goal of 100,000 acres by 2022.
Danone North America, one of the world’s largest Certified B Corps™, defines regenerative agriculture as a set of agricultural practices that help protect soil, water and biodiversity and improve animal welfare, while recognizing the central role of farmers. The company is committed to developing new agricultural models that can restore the planet while feeding the world’s population, which will exceed 9.8 billion people by 2050.
To do this, Danone North America implemented its regenerative agriculture program, which aims in part to improve organic matter in soils to increase carbon sequestration and improve yields, ultimately reducing chemical use, restoring biodiversity and improving soil water-holding capacity, which helps ensure better for farms, long-term economic sustainability. 2.4 billion pounds of dairy milk have been sourced from acreage under the regenerative agriculture program, representing 75% of Danone’s North American dairy milk volume. Farmer partners in the program support the purchase of brands such as Oikos®, Two Good®, Horizon Organic®, Silk® and others.
“Danone North America recognizes the potential of regenerative agriculture to serve as a powerful tool in our fight against climate change, and as a company is committed to developing this practice both within our network of farmer partners and across the industry,” said Jennifer Simpson, Director of Agriculture, Danone North America. “By providing tailored, climate-smart agricultural resources and support to our farmers, we are helping to make a lasting impact, both economically and environmentally.”
Notable program performance results from the fifth year evaluation include:
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration: Regenerative management practices on dairy farms reduced 51,200 tons of CO2e, equivalent to the average energy use of more than 5,000 American homes, and sequestered more than 14,227 tons of carbon. In addition, 70% of all dairy buildings in the program have been retrofitted with LED lighting, and Danone North America continues to work with its farmer partners to identify additional funding opportunities.
- Soil protection and restoration: Farmer partners planted cover crops on 69% of the program area, which protect the soil and increase yields; the national average for blankets is only 5%. 370,963 tons of natural fertilizers and 516 million gallons of natural manure runoff were also used, providing nutrients to crops and reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers, resulting in lower overall fertilizer costs 7.3 million US dollars.
- Promoting biodiversity through species, breeds and wildlife: Danone’s North American farmer partners have grown more than 30 species of cover and cash crops in the program. Looking ahead, for example, to the continued expansion of biodiversity efforts, Danone North America is partnering with an almond farming partner. Harris Wolfe to create a 10-acre pollinator garden that will live among the farm’s array of solar panels.
- Conservation and protection of water systems: The results reflect a variety of farm projects, including the efforts of Danone North America partner McCarty Family Farms, which in its fifth year reused 20 million gallons of water from a milk condensing plant for irrigation. In addition, the program has placed 57 soil moisture probes on all farms to reduce excessive water use and increase efficiency.
Through the program, Danone North America actively works hand-in-hand with its farmer partners to apply a customized approach to each individual farm, helping them adopt the most economically viable regenerative farming practices based on their needs. This includes implementing continuous improvement plans that allow farmers to identify areas that need development so they can receive funding and resources to support ongoing innovation and progress.
“By adopting regenerative farming methods that promote soil health and increase biodiversity, we have helped restore the natural cycles of our soil and increased its natural capacity to sequester carbon. This ultimately reduces our emissions and allows us to play a vital role in the fight against the climate. We hope that the tremendous success we’ve had using these restorative practices inspires others to follow a similar path,” said Ken McCarthyCo-owner of MVP Dairy and McCarty Family Farms.
Danone North America collaborates with Sustainable Environment Consultants (SEC) and its EcoPractices® platform to conduct in-depth field-level sustainability analysis, quantify results and report on regenerative agriculture to support continuous improvement for participating farmer partners. Last year, Danone North America partnered with the SEC to offer its R3™ ROI tool to program participants, fostering collective efforts to create measurable environmental, social and economic impact across supply chains.
“Thanks to the close partnership Danone North America develops with its farmers, the program has proven that regenerative agriculture not only benefits the environment, but also farmers’ livelihoods, providing strong returns,” said Dr. Sarah Crawford, President of Sustainable Environmental Consultants. “Through our ongoing collaboration, we help establish the best sustainability baseline on the market and drive outcomes that drive learning across the agricultural ecosystem.”
This announcement of progress follows closely on the heels of news that Danone North America was awarded a 70 million dollars A USDA grant to promote climate-smart agriculture that will be applied to farm projects in its network of farmer partners. The company also recently announced a 22 million dollars investments by 2030 to improve access to nutritious and health-promoting foods at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.
As this is the final year of the research aspect of the program, going forward Danone North America will continue to build on its regenerative agriculture program, working with partners to increase program acreage and provide continuous improvement plans that drive meaningful progress. This is a key aspect of Danone’s goal, endorsed by the Science-Based Targets Initiative, to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and become net zero by 2050.
More information on Danone North America’s regenerative agriculture practices can be found here.
About Danone North America
Danone North America is a focused company and industry leader in the food and beverage category. As a certified B corporation®, Danone North America is committed to creating both economic and social value while nurturing natural ecosystems through regenerative agriculture. Our strong brand portfolio includes: Activia®DanActive®Danimals®Denon®evian®Happy family® Organic products, fair to goodness®Horizon® Organic, international joy®Light + Fit®Oikos®Silk®So delicious® Dairy free, STōK®Two Good®Wallaby® Organic and YoCrunch®. With more than 6,000 employees and 16 manufacturing locations across the United States and Canada, Danone North America’s mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. For more information on Danone North America’s B Corp™ status, visit https://bcorporation.net/directory/danone-north-america.
About Sustainable Environment Consultants:
Founded in 2008, Sustainable Environmental Consultants is part of Wright Service Corp. families of employee-owned companies. Since its inception, SEC has strived to be a leader in providing innovative solutions for the betterment of the planet through sustainability risk management, third-party data reporting and verification, and agricultural compliance and engineering. We provide a full range of environmental services needed by food businesses and their agricultural supply systems. To learn more, visit www.sustainableenviro.com.
SOURCE Danone North America