Dairy industry leaders last week unveiled a major initiative to build business value and meet growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products by committing to a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. That goal is equivalent to taking more than 1.25 million passenger cars off the road every year.
"Our goal is to help dairy companies to thrive for generations while increasing the health and well-being of consumers, communities, the U.S. dairy industry and the planet," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. "This sustainability initiative offers an outstanding opportunity for all members of the dairy industry."
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is an organization that brings leaders together from across the dairy value chain, including producer organizations, dairy cooperatives, processors and manufacturers such as Hilmar Cheese Company, Leprino Foods, Dairylea Cooperative Inc., Anderson Erickson Dairy, Land O'Lakes and Dairy Farmers of America. The effort currently focuses on the fluid milk value chain — from farm to table — and includes a series of projects that will reduce energy use, increase efficiency and help the industry tap into new sources of income.
At least three of the projects will directly involve processors.
One will work to increase the adoption of energy-efficiency best practices in milk processing plants. Another will demonstrate the commercial viability of non-thermal ultra-violet processing technology as an alternative method for producing high-quality, safe milk products with significantly less energy. Still another will review clean-in-place processes, an energy-intensive aspect of milk processing, and determine solutions for reducing both costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
In the summer of 2008, more than 250 stakeholders gathered at the first Sustainability Summit to develop the roadmap. Now, more than 500 stakeholders are helping the industry and the Innovation Center to achieve the sustainability vision.
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