Praise for Carbery’s Zero C farm plan

The dairy industry's drive towards carbon-neutral farms
Praise for Carbery’s Zero C farm plan
The Carbery processing plant: the Group's emphasis has now turned to suppliers' dairy farms, and to reducing their carbon emissions.

Bord Bia has praised the West Cork-based Carbery Group for its programme to develop a carbon-neutral dairy farm.

The research farm at Shinagh near Bandon is being used to trial and test measures to reduce carbon output, and to implement carbon sequestration, to the extent that production is carbon neutral.

Carbery, based at nearby Balineen, is collaborating with BiOrbic, Teagasc, UCD, Trinity College, Devenish, IT Tralee, Grassa, and a number of ag-tech companies from the US, to measure the carbon emissions and sequestration on the farm.

Once the proof of concept is in place, the opportunity to roll out the best practices to a large group of Carbery suppliers, and even to the entire dairy farming sector in Ireland, is clear, said the food board.

Carbery’s so-called Farm Zero C project includes grass bio-refining to improve the protein efficiency, value and sustainability of grasslands.

The average dairy farm in Ireland emits 502 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.

This is three and a half times more than the average for beef and sheep farms, and four times more than for tillage farms, according to measurements by Teagasc.

And with customers for Irish dairy in 180 countries increasingly looking for sustainability credentials, forward-looking dairy companies are investing in emission reduction now.

Ambitious initiatives from farmers and processors will ensure that Irish produce can continue to be differentiated in the international marketplace.

Bord Bia aim to "step up" to sustainability and emissions challenge 

Bord Bia Insight & Planning Specialist Cormac Nolan said, “Irish dairy companies have long been world-leading in the quality of their product and their ability to export to anywhere.

“And they are now stepping up to that world-leading status in a newer field, the sustainability and emissions challenge.

He said greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from dairy production are increasingly a focus of international organisations and states committed to reducing their emissions, and also for consumers looking for increased sustainability credentials when making their purchases.

The decarbonising focus is on farms because they are at the centre of most GHG emissions associated with dairy production.

For example, 85% of the emissions embedded in cheese production are from the production of milk on farms.

  • Carbery Group is in line for some prestigious awards later this year for its successes as an international ingredient and cheese company grounded in a commitment to responsible expansion and sustainability, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2035 across all its locations.

The company has been shortlisted in four categories (Best Green Dairy Producer, Best Green Ingredient Producer, Sustainable Supply Chain Achievement Award, and Sustainability Team of the Year) of the Green Food & Beverage Producer Awards.

The West Cork-based food company is also shortlisted in the annual Chambers Ireland, Sustainable Business Impact Awards for CSR in the Workplace.

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