Dairy sector takes issue with IATP report

The report noted that 13 of the world’s largest dairy corporations combined to emit more greenhouse gases (GHGs) in 2017 than major polluters BHP, the Australia-based mining, oil and gas giant or ConocoPhillips, the US-based oil company.

However, the dairy industry hit back, saying the report includes inaccuracies.

The 13 companies included in the report:

Groupe Lactalis
Saputo Inc.
Danone SA
Fonterra Co-Operative Group Ltd
Yili Group
Dairy Farmers of America
California Dairies
Arla Foods
Dean Foods

The authors of the report said, unlike growing public scrutiny on fossil fuel companies, little public pressure exists to hold global meat and dairy corporations accountable for their emissions, even as scientific evidence mounts that our food system is responsible for up to 37% of all global emissions.

The total combined emissions of the largest dairy corporations rose by 11% in just two years (2015-2017) since the last IATP report, the authors said.

Even as governments signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 to significantly rein in global emissions, the 13 companies’ increase of 32.3m tonnes (MtCO2​eq) of GHGs equates to the pollution stemming from 6.9m passenger cars driven in one year (13.6bn liters or 3.6bn gallons of gasoline). Some dairy companies increased their emissions by as much as 30% in the two-year period, the report claims.

The report said the emissions rise occurred amidst a crash in global dairy prices in 2015 and 2016, which was fueled partially by increased production from mega-dairies and global dairy corporations that dumped excess dairy into the global market, pushing prices down below the cost of production and forcing out many small to mid-sized dairy farmers.

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