Exclusive: Stonyfield Farm Footprints 150 Products, Across Entire Lifecycle

by | Sep 11, 2012

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Stonyfield Farm has now calculated the complete lifecycle carbon emissions of three quarters of its 200 products, as part of parent company Danone’s charge to individually footprint 35,000 items.

The organic yogurt maker tells Environmental Leader it has completed implementation of a “real time” proprietary software tool, developed by Danone and SAP. The system, which has been validated by PricewaterhouseCoopers, covers all of Stonyfield’s suppliers and every stage of product life from farm to spoon. This includes raw material production, manufacture, transportation of raw materials and finished products, storage by retailers and consumers, packaging and end-of-life disposal.

Danone has said that by the end of the year, the tool will be present in 40 of its business units, covering about 70 percent of its revenues and over 35,000 products. Through using the system, Danone says is on track to meet a goal of a 30 percent emissions reduction from 2008 to 2012.

So far Stonyfield Farm’s results show emissions breaking down as follows:

  • 52 percent from milk production
  • 3 percent from non-milk ingredients
  • 13 percent from manufacturing
  • 10 percent from packaging
  • 8 percent from distributing products
  • 6 percent from transporting ingredients and packaging
  • 7 percent from refrigeration in stores and homes
  • 2 percent from disposal

Under the system, products get footprinted daily. When a production order is issued using Stonyfield’s installation of SAP enterprise resource management software, the carbon tool gets flagged and starts calculating the carbon emissions of the requested product. “We might be the only company in the US that actually does this,” the Stonyfield’s “carbon master,” Mary Fischer, says.

Suppliers don’t have direct access to the tool – instead, if the company changes suppliers, Fischer alters inputs to reflect new farm-to-factory mileage or other changes. A handful of people feed into the tool on a regular basis from every department, including procurement, logistics and utilities. As well as expanding carbon tracking across the product lifecycle, the SAP system also streamlines a process that used to be based on unwieldy spreadsheets, according to vice president of sustainability innovation Wood Turner.

And Danone is already working to expand the tracking tool into water footprinting. The parent company has completed a farm-based water study and is working with lifecycle consultants Quantis to validate water usage factors. It hopes to have that part of the tool ready next year.

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