Danone’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and the fight against climate change reaches a new milestone with the Carbon Trust® certification of its Actimel flagship brand which is produced in Belgium. Not only is Actimel Danone’s first fresh dairy brand to achieve carbon-neutrality for the production cycle as a whole. As a first in Belgium, Actimel is also set to work closely with its dairy farmers to administer the Bovaer® feed supplement to cattle to reduce methane emissions.
"Actimel’s certification is entirely in line with our commitment to the B Corp® certification and the Belgian Alliance for Climate Action2. This new milestone is the result of solid action plans that have been implemented over the past few years by our Rotselaar production site and our partners. It is a step in the right direction, as every tonne of carbon dioxide we are able to cut matters. We will pursue our efforts and investments to shrink our carbon footprint even further. Climate change is a huge and systemic challenge that demands action right here, right now, as well as in times to come”, Danone Belgium’s General Manager Nathalie Pfaff comments. “Our efforts do not stop at this”.
Less methane emissions thanks to feed supplement
Bovaer® is an ingredient that is added to cattle feed which will slash the methane emissions of the livestock population by a further 20-40% over the years ahead. Ruminants are a major source of methane: the gases are produced in the cows’ rumen as the animals digest grass. The Bovaer® feed supplement reduces the amount of methane produced in cows’ digestive systems. This year, the dairy farmers that supply their milk to Actimel will be the first in Belgium to start using the feed supplement. The amount involved is a teaspoon of the ingredient per day per head of cattle.
The way in which the ingredient came about is unique in Europe: through research and innovation with the support from the government, the company developed a concrete application, working in tandem with farmers and private industry with a view to the product’s implementation. More particularly, the collaboration came about between the ILVO Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, a dairy farmer who is a Danone Belgium supplier and nutrition and bioscience company DSM.
Flemish Minister in charge of Agriculture and Food Hilde Crevits: “I take pride in our unique Flemish approach that combines research, innovation and implementation on the ground by the farmers. We will pursue these efforts in going forward and continue to support our farmers to produce on an even more sustainable and climate-friendly footing. In recent months, we have devised a support scheme for farmers who adopt methane-reducing cattle feed such as Bovaer®. I have set aside 1 million euros of the 8 million euros earmarked for pre-eco schemes.
No fewer than 350 farmers have already expressed their interest at a webinar. Feed supplements can drive down the methane emissions of livestock by an average 30% per year. A fine example of research that can help make the difference for the climate.”