As part of Arla’s environmental strategy, Arla’s Board of Directors agreed the global strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming in 2014. It serves as a guiding star for the dairy cooperative and the farmer owners in their continuous work around climate, nature and animal welfare, taking positive steps towards even more sustainable dairy farming.
The strategy focuses on three core areas: Climate, animals and nature.
Reducing the carbon footprint from dairy farming is an essential part of Arla’s Sustainable Dairy Farming Strategy. Having completed more than 4300 carbon assessments in the UK, Sweden and Denmark, Arla’s farmer owners have taken a significant step towards reaching the target of reducing their carbon footprint by 30 per cent in 2020, compared to 1990. In 2015 the carbon footprint from Arla farms was reduced by 23 per cent compared to 1990. From 2017, farmers in Germany and Benelux will also be joining the carbon assessments.
- In Arla we believe that the best progress is made through voluntary actions. Arla’s farmer owners are actively taking part in reducing the carbon footprint of their farms through carbon assessments. Many of them also benefit from this, Arla’s chairman and farmer owner, Åke Hantoft, says.
370 farms in Sweden and Denmark have had an energy assessment which has guided the farmer in reducing the use of electricity. More than 295 workshops have been conducted in the UK, Sweden and Denmark to share knowledge among farmers about efficient use of feed and energy.
Arla’s farmer owners work continuously to increase the already high standards for animal welfare on their farms. With the standards in the Arlagården® programme as the solid foundation, Arla’s farmer owners use animal welfare workshops as a forum in which they can share best practice to bring animal welfare on the farms to even higher levels. In Sweden and the UK almost 300 workshops have been conducted.
- Working with animals is the reason why dairy farmers choose that line of work and the wellbeing of the animal is key for success and at the very heart of the dairy farm. Good animal welfare is a result of good management, which influences the quality and the amount of the milk produced and in turn ensures a good economy on the farm, Peter Stamp Enemark, animal welfare expert in Arla, says.
Arlagården® is Arla’s quality assurance programme which is compulsory for all Arla farmer owners. To make sure that all farms live up to the standards all farms are regularly assessed by external auditors. All UK Arla farmers also adhere to Red Tractor standards and are assessed every 18 months.
Many dairy farmers use soy as feed for the cows and since 2010 Arla has been a member Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS). Since 2014 Arla has purchased RTRS certificates covering 100 per cent of soy used at Arla farms not already covered by Proterra or equivalent.
Maintaining biodiversity around the farms is a priority to Arla’s farmer owners as well as to the dairy cooperative.
In autumn 2016, Arla became a business partner in the ‘Biodiversity Now’ project, which is run by Danmarks Naturfredningsforening - the largest green NGO in Denmark. Biodiversity Now is Denmark’s largest citizen science project with more than 29,000 citizens participating in the registration of 30 species and 12 habitats in the Danish nature on the mobile phone app called ‘NaturTjek’. With an Arla version of the app, Danish farmer owners are encouraged to sign up and register species and habitats around their dairy farms. In return the farmers receive relevant news and inspiration for biodiversity activities at the farm.