Global food and beverage company Danone said this week that its facility in Wexford, Ireland has been certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust — the first baby formula plant in the world to achieve this certification.
Danone Wexford produces baby formula brands including Aptamil, Cow & Gate, and Nutrilon for consumers in 41 countries. The plan to reach carbon neutrality began 10 years ago, according to the company. Over the past decade, the company says it improved energy efficiency at the plant, switched to renewable energy sources, and improved the facility’s waste management.
Specific steps included:
- Installing a biomass boiler in 2012. Danone calls biomass heating a proven technology with low net life-cycle carbon emissions compared to fossil sources of heating such as coal, gas, or oil.
- In 2013, the production site’s spray dryer that helps convert milk into dry powder became powered by the biomass boiler, which is fueled with biomass from local wood producers.
- Switched to 100% renewable electricity in 2017, sourcing 15 GWh of power.
- Achieved ISO 50001 certification for energy management last year.
“All this has resulted in 10,000 tons less CO2 emissions compared to the plant’s emissions in 2010, representing a 70% reduction of the production site’s direct carbon footprint whilst it doubled its production volumes since then,” according to the company.
In 2019, Danone said it offset the plant’s remaining direct carbon emissions as well as emissions from employee commutes with Gold Standard certificates purchased through the Livelihoods Fund.
Then the Carbon Trust certified Danone Wexford as carbon neutral in line with the requirements of the PAS 2060 standard for carbon neutrality, the company said. The carbon reductions don’t stop there, however. Danone brand Evian, which was recently certified to the same specification, still has to get re-certified annually, Evian’s global vice president Shweta Harit told Environment + Energy Leader. So will the Wexford plant.
Danone chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber praised the plant’s certification, and said that it marks a step toward the company’s broader commitment of achieving zero net carbon emissions across their entire value chain by 2050.