Meadow Foods sets out an ambition to lead the decarbonisation of the dairy industry with the lowest carbon footprint milk in the UK

26 September, 22

Meadow Foods is leading the way in the decarbonisation of the dairy industry, a notoriously challenging sector to decarbonise, with accurate emissions measurement being the key to unlocking its ambitious targets whilst still maintaining a profitable business.

With facilities in Yorkshire, Chester, Peterborough and Dolgellau, Meadow supplies 100,000 tonnes of dairy and confectionery ingredients to major brands in food manufacturing, wholesale and the food service industry throughout the UK. Meadow’s product range also includes plant-based products and inclusions.

Meadow Foods has set out its ambition to produce the lowest carbon footprint milk in the UK. To do this, the dairy ingredients company partnered with emissions measurement platform Altruistiq, because of its focus not only on Scope 1 and 2 emissions (those within Meadow Foods’ direct operational control) but also on the platform’s ability to unpack the complexities of measuring Scope 3 emissions (all other indirect emissions that occur within the value chain), which sets them apart from similar services.

Altruistiq’s innovative platform has allowed Meadow Foods to identify the largest and most concentrated sources of emissions and refine the business’s decarbonisation initiatives.

Farms are the carbon hotspots
Meadow Foods recognised that measurement and data analysis are crucial to a successful sustainability strategy and to meet its ambitious targets to become the UK’s lowest carbon footprint milk producer.

Altruistiq’s data measurement confirmed what Meadow Foods suspected, that dairy farms are the key carbon hotspots within their value chain. With over 425 farms supplying dairy products for Meadow Foods, this was a key target area for the company. From 2018 to 2021, Meadow Foods has managed to work closely with farmers to reduce their footprints by 21%. This reduction means that their carbon footprint is 64% lower than the global average, and 16% lower than the UK average for a litre of milk.

Key to this reduction is using the quantifiable carbon data verified by Altruistiq as a tool for farmer engagement. By sharing this project level data with farmers, Meadow Foods has been able to engage with individual partners, share best practice and work closely with them to provide tailored guidance on approaches to reduce emissions.

As a result of the insight into their emission hotspots, Meadow Foods are now planning to launch a farmer engagement program early next year. They are also looking to partner with Harper Adams University, and become an associate with their cutting-edge program called the School of Sustainable Food and Farm. Founded by the likes of McDonald’s, Morrison’s, and the National Farmers Union (NFU), the program is going to be at the forefront of innovation which can be passed onto farmers, sharing good practices to help them reduce emissions.

The ability to analyse product-level data is driving new collaborations with customers and suppliers
Reporting on product-level emissions data is accelerating the sustainability agenda at Meadow Foods, and the work with Altruistiq has been impressing partners with the level of scrutiny on sustainability across the full breadth of Meadow Food’s operations.

The remaining challenge is to run a profitable business whilst continuing to reduce carbon. The data analysis has identified the carbon footprint of individual products and ingredients providing a reliable, accurate and granular impact breakdown. Meadow Foods has then been able to use this impact intelligence to lead strategic, collaborative projects with new and existing partners to cost-effectively reduce their shared carbon footprint.

Commenting on the partnership, Alun Lewis, Head of Sustainability at Meadow Foods said; “We knew that the key to reaching our ambitious sustainability goals was to focus on data measurement. Altruistiq has taken a complex situation and has made the process of capturing and understanding Meadow’s data much easier for even people who are relatively new to working with emissions measurement and tracking.

“The difference between Altruistiq and everyone else is the ability to take our measurements so much further, to go down to product level, to do customer reports, and to put in intensity metrics. I think the outputs from Altruistiq completely blow everyone else out of the water and are allowing us to meet our ambitious target to become the lowest carbon milk in the UK.

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