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FrieslandCampina takes new steps to make dairy chain more sustainable

Over the past year, FrieslandCampina has taken new steps to make its dairy chain even more sustainable. It is now adding less sugar and salt to its products, has made a 4% energy efficiency gain at its production plants, launched new initiatives to support small-scale farmers in Asia and Africa as part of the Dairy Development Programme, forged a partnership with the aid organisation Agriterra and begun the Foqus planet programme to encourage sustainable dairy farming. FrieslandCampina’s member dairy farmers now supply 40% of the electricity used at the company’s Dutch production facilities. Energy scans have been carried out at 1,000 dairy farms and 74% of the member farmers are grazing their herds outdoors.

Royal FrieslandCampina CEO Cees ’t Hart: ‘As a dairy cooperative with nearly 20,000 member dairy farmers, we work to assure our long-term continuity and don’t allow ourselves to be led by short-term thinking. Sustainability is thus an integral part of our route2020 growth strategy. Not just because consumers, customers and society in general increasingly expect it, but also because we take our responsibility towards our many stakeholders seriously, want to guarantee the continuity of our own organisation and hope to make our earnings model resilient to future challenges to sustainability.’

Sugar reduction equal to 54 freight lorries
FrieslandCampina has been actively working to reduce the sugar content of its products since 2009. Reducing sugar in products is important due to the growing number of children and adults who suffer from obesity. In Malaysia, the company has a programme to reduce sugar content by 2,700 tonnes, which is roughly equivalent to 54 freight lorries. It has also cut the salt content in its semi-hard cheese by 5%.

4% energy efficiency gain
With 25 production plants in the Netherlands and 14,000 member dairy farms, FrieslandCampina has a major impact on energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the country. It has therefore committed itself to climate-neutral growth. In 2012, it improved the energy efficiency of its production plants worldwide by 4% compared with 2011, and 40% of the electricity consumed by these facilities is now supplied by its member dairy farms. In 2012, FrieslandCampina again took significant steps to purchase sustainable raw materials, such as RTRS soy, RSPO palm oil and Utz-certified cocoa, and from 2013 it will buy only FSC-approved packaging for the West European market.

Dairy Development Programme
Through its Dairy Development Programme (DDP), FrieslandCampina is contributing to rural development and local fresh milk production in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Nigeria. FrieslandCampina believes in the progressive development of dairy farms to improve the quality assurance of milk, the productivity of the farms and the family incomes of small farmers in the sector. This requires close cooperation with local dairy farmers, governments and research institutes. DDP already accounts for 19% of local fresh milk production in Vietnam.

Launch of sustainability programme for member dairy farms
FrieslandCampina supports its dairy farmers in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium through the Foqus planet quality and sustainability programme, which was launched in January 2012. The programme concentrates on animal health and welfare, biodiversity and mineral management, energy and climate and the preservation of outdoor grazing in the Netherlands. Approximately 1,000 member dairy farmers took part in an energy scan and 80 workshops were held on renewable energy and animal welfare (reduction in the use of antibiotics).

Challenges and ambitions
FrieslandCampina wants to contribute to three relevant global concerns: nutrient security, reducing the average age of the farming community by offering good prospects to young farmers and increasing the sustainability of its own dairy chain ‘from grass to glass’. These aims are enshrined in its mission (‘corporate purpose’). The company is also taking specific steps to translate its CSR strategy into locally relevant measures to ensure that CSR becomes even more visible to employees in Europe, Africa and Asia. It is also committed to making CSR a permanent part of all its day-to-day business processes. This will be achieved by closely involving all its employees and member dairy farmers in the theme of sustainability. In the Netherlands, for example, ‘Green Teams’ have already been appointed at each production plant.