Danone North America has joined the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance, a movement founded by Vanguard Renewables which aims to promote regenerative agriculture and prevent food waste by turning it into renewable energy.
The Alliance was formed in 2020 by Vanguard Renewables, Unilever, Starbucks, and Dairy Farmers of America in order to boost food waste recycling, expand renewable energy across the U.S., and support generational farms and regenerative agricultural practices. Now that Danone has joined, the alliance is now comprised of 17 industry leaders from multiple sectors.
“Danone’s decision to join the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance is a testament to their dedication to sustainability and their recognition of the urgent need to address food waste and renewable energy challenges,” said Neil H. Smith, chief executive officer of Vanguard Renewables. “Together, we will accelerate the transition to a circular economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enable a more sustainable future for generations to come.”
Members of the alliance collaborate on ways to mitigate climate change, mostly through agricultural practices, and commit to circularity through recycling organic waste. Vanguard Renewable uses anaerobic digestion to convert food and other organic waste into renewable natural gas, which can in turn be used to generate electricity, heat, and transportation fuel.
Alliance Membership Adds to Danone’s Sustainability Efforts for Regenerative Agriculture
Danone’s sustainability plan, the Danone Impact Journey, includes three major goals: progressing health through food, helping people and communities thrive, and preserving and regenerating nature. The company reports goals to reduce its water use, implement low-carbon packaging, cut waste across its value chain, and support regenerative farming practices, among others.
Joining the strategic alliance will specifically help with the company’s goal of sourcing 30% of ingredients from regenerative farms.
According to the World Economic Forum, regenerative farming on 40% of the world’s cropland would save around 600 million tons of emissions, nearly the carbon footprint of Germany. The practice must be scaled quickly in order to reap the benefits, however, and this requires making regenerative farming commercially attractive.
At present, farmers have to bear most of the financial burden of this transition, which makes for a much slower adoption of regenerative practices. Alliances such as Vanguard’s are a step in the right direction, but increased financial incentives for regenerative agriculture would speed up these efforts. In the U.S., the 2023 Farm Bill is up for reauthorization and could be a major driver for regenerative agriculture in the years to come.