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Glanbia Ireland farmers commit to a 30% reduction in carbon intensity by 2030

22 July 2021

Glanbia Ireland also commits to 30% absolute reduction from processing sites.

Following over a year of intensive planning, Glanbia Ireland, producers of Avonmore and other leading brands, has pledged to achieve a 30% absolute reduction in carbon emissions from its processing sites by 2030 and will work with their dairy farmers towards a similar cut in carbon intensity from milk production. The ambitious targets are laid out in a comprehensive sustainability strategy called "Living Proof".

The company and its over 2,000 employees will continue to prioritise actions in air and water quality, animal health and welfare, biodiversity, packaging, production and other areas.

The company has also signed up to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to show its clear and unambiguous commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by implementing the best science and technology.

The company’s overall ambition is to reach Net Zero Carbon by no later than 2050, in line with the Irish Government’s commitment in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill and shows the commitment of the farming community and the company to make a real difference to achieving ambitious targets set out in the plans.

Following over a year of detailed analysis and planning, the Board of Glanbia Ireland has adopted a comprehensive, company-wide ‘Living Proof’ sustainability strategy. It sets out clear targets to 2030 and beyond for each of five key priority areas, including:

  • carbon reduction,
  • regenerative agriculture,
  • natural nutrition,
  • the circular economy and
  • growing together.

It contains long-term, science-based targets, goals and promises, including achieving carbon neutral status for six of its main production sites. The sustainability strategy also focuses on soil health and nutrition; further improving the nutritional quality of its product portfolio as well as reducing and recycling packaging and limiting waste. Promoting diversity and inclusion in a fair, safe and progressive working environment is also laid out in the strategy which will guide the company in the coming years.

Among the other specific targets are that:

  • 100% of packaging on consumer-facing brands is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025;
  • 100% of its portfolio is compliant with the GI Nutritional Standards by 2025;
  • 100% of inputs for food are responsibly sourced by 2030;
  • 100% of Glanbia Ireland farms have ‘A Greener World Animal Welfare Approved Standards’ certification, a nutrient management plan, soil testing and water quality action plans for farms in Priority Areas for Action by 2025;
  • 50:50 female:male representation in leadership roles will be achieved by 2030.

Speaking as the Living Proof sustainability strategy was unveiled, Glanbia Ireland CEO Jim Bergin said: “Irish farmers are among the best in the world and are showing their determination to adapt to the requirement for science-based climate action. Farm families are proud custodians of the rural environment, and we will support our farmers in addressing challenges and building on Ireland’s great natural credentials. Farmers have proven their willingness to adapt and change many times.”

Chief Innovation and Sustainability Officer François Morgan said Glanbia Ireland had worked closely with The Carbon Trust and Forum for the Future for over a year on Living Proof.

“Over the years Glanbia Ireland has shown the necessary sustainability leadership required to future proof Ireland’s largest indigenous sector, the agri-food sector. We’ve signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and are committed to delivering on our promises.

“We are showing through a variety of initiatives that vibrant communities can be environmentally and economically sustainable at the same time. For ‘Living Proof’ to deliver it is critical that our farmers, our suppliers, our customers, employees and our communities work together.

“Through a strong farm sustainability roadmap, improved energy efficiency, technology developments, migration to renewable energy sources, the delivery of high quality nutritious products with a low impact on the environment and a range of science-based and targeted initiatives, everyone at Glanbia Ireland is committed to ensuring that we will deliver a healthier future for all,” he said.

Chairman, John Murphy, said: “From humble beginnings in the cooperative movement, Glanbia Ireland has become a global name in food and nutrition. We work closely with our 6,000 farm family suppliers and pride ourselves in ensuring that producing exceptional quality food and ingredients is at the heart of everything we do. This sustainability strategy will be central to maintaining Glanbia’s competitive edge in a post-Brexit landscape and places our company and our farmers at the cutting edge of sustainable farming.”

Commenting on the strategy, James Payne, Associate Director from international non-profit, Forum for the Future, said: “The 2020s need to be the ‘decade of delivery’ on the Sustainable Development Goals, with particular urgency around climate, nature, and delivering socially just transitions. In working with Glanbia Ireland to identify global sustainability best practice and shaping a future-fit strategy to meet the challenges of the decade ahead, I was struck by how well positioned Glanbia Ireland is to successfully address these opportunities. From being a farmer-owned cooperative to its unusual breadth of involvement with its value chain from feed and farm inputs to its farmers to customers and consumers, the business is very well placed to deliver the deeper change and disruptive innovation needed to tackle the key sustainability issues it faces.“



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