to do right by
Climate Action Plan
Our path to net zero emissions
As a certified B Corp™, we are committed to reducing our impact on the planet—which is why we’ve created a Climate Action Plan.
Climate change is a threat to farming, our business and the world, and we’re already seeing its harmful effects. Natural disasters destroy our lands and will continue to impact the most vulnerable populations—including rural communities which often experience higher levels of poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and fewer community services than urban areas.
This is why we’re continuing our journey to the goal of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, with an interim goal to reduce emissions 30% by 2030.
We’ve got work to do
The dairy industry has reduced emissions per gallon of milk by more than 60% since the 1940s, but we acknowledge there is more work to do. Dairy still contributes an estimated 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.
Scientists say we must limit warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius to prevent irreparable damage to our planet and our communities. That’s why we have aligned with the Innovation for U.S. Dairy’s Stewardship Commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and have set an interim goal of 30% reduction in absolute emissions by 2030, from a baseline year of 2020.
Our biggest opportunity is milk
Our biggest opportunity to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is from our supply chain, or Scope 3.
In 2020, our emissions totaled 1,656,826 mt CO2e, which is about the same emissions as over 350,000 passenger vehicles. Indirect emissions from our supply chain make up 97% of our total baseline carbon footprint, and 79% of that comes from milk. The reason so much of our emissions come from milk is due to gas from cows (burps!) including their digestive process, emissions from manure and emissions from animal feed production.
Since our founding in 1909, our farmer-owners have built everything with a long-term outlook to ensure that farms and communities are here for generations to come. That’s why being good stewards of cows and farms, of people and products, of our communities and the environment, is central to everything we do.
how we will get to 2030 and beyond
Our Climate Action Plan outlines solutions that will make the most impact.
Empowered with an informed plan, we’re working towards our interim goal to achieve a 30% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 through changes on farms, at our facilities and with our fleet.
Below are more details on the three areas we’re accelerating to reduce our emissions.
Making and refrigerating dairy products takes energy—and while 85% of our electricity comes from renewable sources, we’re working to make it 100%.
In addition to investing in renewable energy, we continue to drive down use through energy efficiency projects and equipment upgrades. In 2021, we implemented energy reduction initiatives that will save an estimated 200,000 kWh and 142 metric tons of CO2-eq annually.
We’re also working to reduce food waste. In 2020, we joined the 10x20x30 Food Loss and Waste Initiative, committing to a 50% reduction in food waste in our processing plants by 2030. And in our Boardman facility, we diverted over 955,000 lbs of cheese scraps in 2022, increasing our diversion rate from 15% to over 60% at the site. In turn, this also reduced our landfill-based emissions by 36% in Boardman. Diverting food waste to animal feed or avoiding it altogether helps reduce emissions.
We set a goal to phase out the use of diesel in favor of alternative, low-carbon fuels by 2030. We’re pleased to report that in 2022 our truck fleet transitioned to a cleaner-burning renewable diesel fuel. This fuel is made from upcycled agricultural waste products and will reduce our emissions per gallon by 66%. We will continue to track other fleet technologies like electric and renewable natural gas in future years.
We’re also using new technology to improve driving habits that will improve safety and increase miles per gallon, and we are partnering with external carriers through the EPA SmartWay program.
In 2020, about 80% of our total emissions came from dairy farms. We are continuing to build on our farmer-owners’ heritage of doing right by the land through manure handling, feed production, and on-farm energy.
Regenerative Agriculture Practices sequester carbon while building soil health, enhancing microbial communities, and improving water quality. Currently, 95% of our farmer-owners practice cover cropping. And in 2022, half of our member farms opted into a benchmarking program to measure just how much carbon our farmland stores, which helps us accurately measure our total carbon output.
Dairy Biodigesters convert manure waste into energy or renewable natural gas, fertilizer, and bedding. 25% of manure in Tillamook County currently goes to a digester or compost facility, and we have a goal to increase that number.
Innovative Tech that tracks the latest science will help us reduce emissions. We’re currently piloting a manure additive that is shown to reduce methane from stored manure by 20%.
Science Based and Measurable
We worked with third-party consultants to develop our science-based approach and have identified 25 strategies to improve our overall carbon footprint and help us reach our goals.
While we believe our journey to net zero emissions is achievable, we have a roadmap—not a GPS. Reaching our goals will require perseverance, commitment, and continued collaboration across our cooperative and partners.
We also commit to being transparent about our progress and pitfalls, and we’ll share year-over-year progress in our annual Stewardship Reports and update this page.