Danone today announces that its facility in Wexford, Ireland is the first baby formula production site in the world to be certified carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust, an independent global climate change and sustainability consultancy. This industry-leading milestone is a step towards achieving the company’s goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and illustrates how Danone executes on its ‘One Planet. One Health’ frame of action, to protect the health of people and that of the planet.
Danone Wexford is located in one of the world’s leading sustainable grass-fed dairy sectors and employs 350 people. It produces leading brands like Aptamil, Cow & Gate and Nutrilon for consumers in 41 countries around the world. The plant sustainably manufactures high-quality baby formula by:
- Curbing carbon emissions: the plant sources 100% renewable electricity and uses a biomass boiler powered by sustainable wood fuels. This has resulted in 10.000 tons of CO2 savings compared to the plant’s emissions in 2010, representing a 70% reduction in its direct carbon footprint, whilst doubling its production volumes since then. Since the end of 2019 the remaining direct carbon emissions of the plant have been fully offset with Gold Standard certificates.
- Implementing digital technologies for efficiencies and sustainability performance: the facility has developed a digital roadmap which includes a significant number of initiatives to become a paperless site, using drones for monitoring inventory and innovative technologies for monitoring energy.
- Supporting local economy: the sustainable wood fuel powering the boiler is sourced from the local wood chipping industry, also delivering a positive economic impact in Wexford County.
- Contributing to regenerative agriculture practices in Ireland: as a verified member of Origin Green, the only global food and drink sustainability program uniting Government, food producers and the private sector.
- Achieving zero-waste to landfill: all waste from production processes or packaging materials is recovered.
Gustavo Hildenbrand, general manager for Danone Specialised Nutrition UK & Ireland, said: “As a business we have been working hard to ensure that everything we produce is done in the best possible way and this means putting people and planet first. We’re very proud that our Wexford factory is officially the world’s first carbon neutral infant formula factory; it marks a significant step in our industry towards sustainable production solutions. The benefits to both the environment and the business are clear, the certification helps us reduce our carbon footprint, while also continuing to grow by increasing efficiencies and outputs.”
Emmanuel Faber, chairman and CEO of Danone, said: “At extraordinary times like the one we are living at the moment, it is more important than ever to protect the local ecosystems where we operate and create sustainable value for everyone. Our One Planet. One Health frame of action puts climate at the core of our growth model. The carbon neutral certification of Danone Wexford is an excellent illustration of implementing climate action to protect health of the planet and of the people. It is also a step towards realizing our commitment to achieving zero net carbon emissions across our entire value chain by 2050 and I truly want to congratulate our people in Wexford for realizing an ambitious vision set more than 10 years ago. This is only a first step and we should accelerate even more to create a low-emissions, climate resilient future. It is through key investments like this one that we take a step forward towards reaching this ambition.”
Sustainable manufacturing: recent achievements
Danone Wexford reflects the company’s ongoing commitment to the sustainability of its production sites. In 2019, Danone inaugurated a new sustainable, energy and water efficient production facility for baby formula in the Netherlands and announced an investment of NZ$40 million towards achieving 100% carbon neutrality of its spray drying plant for baby formula in New Zealand. Danone is also committed to reducing the climate impact of its other baby formula production site in Macroom, Ireland which relies on natural gas for its energy needs. With the objective of achieving carbon neutrality, Danone stands at the forefront of those calling for the establishment of a biogas industry as a renewable alternative to natural gas in Macroom.
Danone climate strategy and recent achievements
Today’s announcement is part of a companywide effort by Danone to promote greenhouse gas reduction. In 2015, Danone committed to zero net carbon emissions across our full value-chain by 2050 and to reduce scope 1, 2 and 3 emission intensity by 50% for 2030. In September 2019, Danone joined 86 other global companies in signing the Global Compact’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge. The company has also reached the peak of its full scope carbon emissions, five years ahead of its original plan and commitment and one year prior to the 1.5°C Science-Based Targets commitment. To further accelerate climate action, Danone announced a €2 billion climate acceleration plan to fund the transformation of its agriculture, energy and operations, packaging and digital capabilities between 2020 and 2022.
From 2019 onwards Danone will show a carbon-adjusted recurring earnings per share that takes into account the estimated financial cost for the absolute GHG emissions on its entire value chain. This initiative also connects with Danone’s ambition to become a Certified B CorpTM globally, using ‘business as a force for good’ to create sustainable value for all and protecting our planet.