Danone talks regenerative agriculture: Linking dairy and plant-based at a farm level can yield sustainability gains – FoodNavigator.com


Round 60% of Danone’s emissions are produced in its agricultural commodities current chain, The agency revealed in 2017 when it set out its stall Specializing in regenperiodtive applys​ as An factor of its local climate movement ambition. 

The transfer acquired here in assist of Danone’s local climate change commitments. The French group introduced again in 2015 that It is working to make its full worth chain carbon impartial by 2050. Inside this journey, Danone has pledged ‘formidin a place targets’ for 2030: To Scale again full scope emission depth by 50% and To understand a 30% absolute discount of scope 1 And A pair of emissions.

Regenperiodtive agriculture Is An important An factor of that imaginative and prescient for the French Alpro-to-Actiby way of maker.

Typically, regenperiodtive agriculture inagencys applys like cowl cropping, no till strategies, crop rotation, mixed farming, and hedgerows to assist biodiversity. In its grandest sense, regenperiodtive agriculture Might be utilized to take carbon out of the environment and return it to the soil. Over An prolonged timeframe, this ships end Outcomes not solely When it Includes slicing CO2 emissions However in addition enhances soil well being and productiveness by way of carbon sequestration, with the potential To Scale again reliance on chemical fertilisers.

For Danone, regenperiodtive ag is a set of applys Which will ‘assist regenperiodte the farming system’, Vice chairman of agricultural procurement Yann-Gaël Rio informed us. These are detailed Inside The agency’s Regenperiodtive Agriculture Scorecard​ To Enassembleive transparency. 

Danone’s three pillars of regenperiodtive ag

The agency’s strategy Is predicated on three pillars: plainternetary well being, animal well being, and farmer livelihoods. “The selection We now have made To transform to regenperiodtive agriculture Is primarily about assist for A gooder plainternet, assist for greater livelihoods for farmers and animal welfare,”​ he defined.

This recurrents one factor of a virtuous cycle. The assembleive influence of regenperiodtive applys can be seen in enhanced soil well being, enhanced biodiversity and greater water extreme quality As properly as To Scale againd water requirements. As soil well being is assembleed, productiveness rises, and farms require fewer chemical inplaces Similar to fertilisers.

Sequestering carbon and constructing soil well being will enhance productiveness and water resilience / Pic: GettyImages-Mintr

“Everyfactor we do with no till, with cowl cropping, with crop rotation, with assist of biodiversity by way of hedges and wildlife bins, That is all serving to the resilience of the crop itself. As a consequence, this reduces The want for chemical inplaces,”​ Rio noticed.

“We Need to take a Take A look at it as a system. Shifting The complete system has Many numerous advantages. It is going to have advantages on the chemical enter discount and water utilization discount as a Outcome of A gooder soil assembleion meals greater water holding performance. You’ve many assembleive Undesirable influences to All of the important regenperiodtive ag applys.”​

Likewise, enhanced animal welfare – a assembleive Outcome in itself – furtherly has the facet-influence of boosting productiveness. “Good animal welfare means good animal well being. With good animal well being, you’ve acquired greater yields, you’ve acquired greater productiveness. Tright here is A clear hyperlink between animal welfare and on-farm efficiency.”​

The third pillar of Danone’s strategy is farmers and whOn The agency calls ‘farming for durations’, with the purpose of making sure farmer resilience, enhanced livelihoods and ‘the transition from period-to-period’.

To assist modifications to the agricultural system, It is ‘important’ to have an interjoined strategy That options social and environmental Outcomes, Rio careworn.

“Nofactor will change with out the farmers. It is all about altering farming applys, how farmers can and are in a place And maying To vary farming applys and the farming system. In our thoughts All of it begins with the farmer.”​

Regenperiodtive ag ‘begins with the farmer’ / Pic: GettyImages-frostyy

An important method that Danone assists farmers to make this sizey-time period transition Is by way of pricing visibility and, wright here applicin a place, premiums.

“It’s about giving them visibility. It is about sizey-time period contracts. Typically, Everytime You turn to regenperiodtive agriculture it takes 3-4 yrs to reap The advantages of The mannequin new system. They want visibility To work together in such An prolonged transition.”​

This visibility furtherly comes Inside The Sort of fixed pricing or the guarantee of a pricing flooring Which will insulate farmers from The hazard of a market crash.

“We have A third pricing mechanism wright here we both pay a premium for A particular farming apply implementation or we guarantee a margin of value. Counting on The current chain, Counting on The character of the transformation and The hazard implied for the farmers, We will apply completely different pricing mechanisms.”​

Transitioning the system: sizey and brief current chains

The method that Danone employs To work together farmers Relies upon upon Whether or not or not They Appear to be a half of The agency’s sizey or brief current chains, to ‘oversimplify’ The matter, Rio defined.

“The brief current chains are both Shut to house – so the farmers are subsequent to our factories – or are at arm’s size, our tier one or two suppliers. This Is ordinaryly the case for dairy, plant-based mostly milks, Vegatin a places and fruits.​

“In that case, we both buy immediately from our farmers, we supply immediately from 50,000 farmers throughout the globe. Or we buy from coopperiodtives so the farmer is close enough so All of us know them, and converse to them, and promote modified farming applys wright hereas making sure our pricing mechanism assists adselection.”​

The sourcing and agriculture VP estimates that current milk – which is supplyd immediately – accounts for around 50% of The agency’s ag procurement. Plant-based mostly Vegatin a places and fruits recurrent one other 20-to-25% of sourcing, furtherly purchased by way of the brief current chain. That leaves As a lot as 25% of commodities supplyd by way of sizeyer, extra complicated current chains.

“In the complicated current chain, farmers can be three, 4, 5 steps up the chain. It Is method extra difficult To actually know every particular person farmer. We know wright here what we buy comes from – the nation or the area – We will even know The metropolis or village – but We do not know The particular person farmer.”​

How does Danone promote regenperiodtive agriculture Inside these circumstances?

“Our capability To impact a change of behaviour Might be very completely different for This Sort of current chain. We have to have a pre-aggressive strategy and levperiodge peer corporations Who’ve The identical curiosity as us In time durations Of transforming The current chain. This occurs by way of alliances of friends,”​ Rio noticed.

Ag science and tech ‘speedyly evolving’

While many regenperiodtive applys sound like a again to fundamentals strategy typical of the meals system earlier than the intensification and industrialisation of agriculture, Rio believes enhancements in science and know-how will play An important position in The biggest method forward for a regenperiodtive meals and farming system.

Agricultural science and know-how is a ‘speedyly creating’ area / Pic: GettyImages-lamyai

“You’ve A lot of pure based mostly options Coming out of science right now That are harvesting The power of nature, choosing microbes, algae, yeast, to assist plant-progress and soil well being. For me Tright here is a candy spot wright here science assists decide pure-based mostly options and places it to work Inside the soil or on the crop,”​ he informed us.

Precision agriculture, synthetic intelligence and utilized sciences that levperiodge on-farm knowledge or predictive analytics are furtherly creating at a speedy clip. This Might assist enhance farming applys by reducing or concentrating on inplaces, monitoring crop enhancement, soil moisture or climactic circumstances. “Tright here’s Tons occurring right here which Might be very useful,”​ Rio said.

“These two gadgets – ag science and ag tech – are creating very quick. Tright here are A lot of revolutionary corporations Which are and Shall be An factor of The reply. We Do not have All the technical options posed by a transition to regenperiodtive agriculture right now. Ag science and ag tech are going to play A critical position.”​

Plant and animal agriculture as An factor of local climate reply

Animal agriculture Is ordinaryly singled out for its contribution to greenhouse gasoline emissions. Based on the FAO, animal agriculture is Liin a place for 14% Of worldwide emissions. If 10% of the inhabitants switched to plant-based mostly options 176 million tonnes of CO2 emissions could be prevented, in accordance To at least one current research carried out by Blue Horizon and PwC.

Animal agriculture comes beneath hearth for its footprint – but Danone argues it Ought to be seen as An factor of an assembleed-in system / Pic: GettyImages-Ben-Schonewille

However, a methods-considering strategy to meals manufacturing leaves space for dairy to exist as An factor of a sustainin a place complete, in accordance to the evaluation of the dairy huge – which furtherly boasts a sizein a place plant-based mostly enterprise.

As An factor of its 2050 commitments, Danone believes that It could And may get to internet zero dairy manufacturing. However, offsetting and insetting Shall be An factor of this equation, Rio defined.

“The carbon impartial dairy farm will happen by way of enhancements of farm opperiodtions To Scale again the footprint – and On The identical time with an offsetting or insetting method,”​ he informed us.

Apparently, Danone sees alternative to hyperlink insetting again to regenperiodtive applys, with animal manure used To assemble soil well being in native ecomethods.

“When you enhance soil well being you enhance carbon sequestration in soil Which Does not reduce the carbon emissions further on the dairy farm itself but compensates by capturing the carbon Inside the soil. This is The Type of mixed strategy We’re Taking A look at.”​

Rio pointed to halfnerships between native farms that see dairies buying for feed and fodder from their neighbours and currenting them with manure to fertilise areas. In japanese France, The agency has already dedicated to sourcing 100% French feed. These farms are ‘An factor of The identical system’ and wright hereas the strategy Isn’t but optimised he believes Tright here’s scope To enhance such halfnerships.

Rio elaborated: “It Is primarily about taking a system strategy and Taking A look at it as A complete… We Need to Make assembleive that halfnership, whether It is on The identical farm or throughout A posh of neighbouring farms, Shall be enhanced and optimised. It is An factor of how We’ll maintain enhancing our footprint.”​

Integrating Danone’s dairy procurement with its plant-based mostly sourcing is an space that Rio sees good alternative for This Sort of joined-up strategy to ship influence. “We Try to get our dairy farmers to furtherly current us with plant-based mostly commodities – soy, oat – That are very straightforward to inject in a rotation.​

“A great crop rotation in a regenperiodtive ag system Is important Because you’d like a legume Inside the rotation. We Try To join our plant-based mostly enterprise with our dairy enterprise at farm diploma. This takes time but We’re already doing this in Poland, wright here our dairy farmers started to develop oats final yr, Inside the US, wright here our dairy farmers have started to develop soy and oat.​

“This is Definitely one of The solely strategies to harness Definitely one of the Better of each worlds and actually develop an assembleed-in farming system.”​

Regenperiodtive ag Is Simply one of many alternatives we’ll be probing at our upcoming broadcast event, Climate Smart Food​​​. We’ll be discussing Pretty a Little bit of factors, from sustainin a place sourcing, to sustainin a place consumption and meals and ag tech Which will assist methods transformation. 

With the meals system contributing around one-quarter of greenhouse gasoline emissions right now, It is clear that enterprise-as-ordinary Isn’t an selection. So what Should differ if We’re to transition in the direction of actually sustainin a place vitamin? Be a part of us To Search out out. 

To register Freed from cost, click on HERE​​, or to view particulars of our full programme, click on HERE​​. 

Climate Smart Food, 27-30 September 2021


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