Ben & Jerry's is committed to bringing greenhouse gas emissions on 15 dairy farms to half the industry average by the end of 2024. Once proven, pilot project initiatives will be expanded to farms across Ben & Jerry's global dairy supply chain.
Dairy ingredients account for more than 50% of Ben & Jerry's total greenhouse gas emissions, so the company is focusing on dairy farms as the best opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint. "Project Mootopia," as the pilot has been dubbed, will use regenerative agricultural practices and new technology to address:
- Enteric emissions: Managing methane-producing cow burps through a high-quality forage diet and innovative rumen modifiers that act as a digestive aid.
- Manure: Managed through methane reduction technology such as digesters and separators, which reduce the need for commercial fertilizer.
- Feed crops: Using regenerative practices to grow more grass and other feed crops to maintain healthy soils, increase carbon sequestration, improve the use of grassland, lower synthetic inputs, promote biodiversity, and raise the percentage of homegrown feed.
"This approach to dairy farming could be a game changer," said Jenna Evans, global sustainability manager for Ben & Jerry's. "It has the potential to make a meaningful reduction in emissions on dairy farms and help fight the worst effects of climate change. All of us, especially businesses, must take action before it's too late and the climate crisis makes our world uninhabitable."
The pilot project will also promote renewable energy on dairy farms and continue Ben & Jerry's tradition of meeting high animal welfare standards. The 15 participating farms will be split between members of the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) cooperative in the U.S. and CONO Kaasmakers in the Netherlands.
Ben & Jerry's received $9.3 million to prove and scale regenerative practices on dairy farms from the Climate and Nature Fund of its parent corporation, Unilever. With Ben & Jerry's commitment to dairy farm worker rights through Milk with Dignity, Project Mootopia is expected to help the company meet the emerging demand for delicious ice cream that is climate friendly and socially just.