Taking care also for future generations
Our long-term success is tied to sustainable growth. We are raising our CO2 reduction targets across our entire value chain and switching to a net-zero path.
In keeping with our more than 100-year heritage, our passion is the mindful manufacture of dairy products in a way that takes our planet’s natural resources and the needs of people and communities where we operate into account.
We believe that the key to this is a responsible business model geared to sustainable growth, which will enable us to generate added value over the long term – particularly in rural regions – and ensure that future generations also get to experience the unique nature of dairy products.
We will continue to focus on sustainable dairy, and close cooperation with our milk suppliers is an important aspect of this. It will help us secure long-term access to high-quality and increasingly sustainable milk, allowing us to respond to a growing consumer need.
We want to use our influence and our close ties with our farmers and milk suppliers to drive positive change in the complex dairy ecosystem in association with other companies, social groups and other stakeholders.
On the basis of fixed plans and partnerships, we focus our efforts in those areas where we can achieve the biggest impact: sustainable milk production, conservation of resources, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and employee development.
What have we achieved
We believe we are on track to achieve our ambition of switching to sustainably produced milk. In Switzerland, 93 % of the milk we process is now produced according to the swissmilk green standard. There is still more to do, however, and we are working with our milk producers to close the gap by 2023. At the same time, we are committed to helping the industry further develop and extend the current standard, particularly with regard to climate protection.
We are satisfied with our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the Group and are optimistic about achieving our goal of a 25 % reduction compared with the base year 2014 in the year under review.
We are not satisfied with our waste reduction results, however. Although we were able to reduce our food waste by more than 10 %, we are still falling short of our expectations overall. The discovery that the sludge generated by wastewater treatment at our site in Tunisia could not be recycled as planned, meaning that we need to adopt a new approach, had a hugely negative impact on this.
We also still have to step up as regards development plans for our employees across all business units and countries. The glass is currently two-thirds full, and further action is required.
The pandemic has sharpened our awareness of our planet’s health. We are placing such a heavy burden on our earth, however, that both its climate and its people are suffering as a result. As such, we believe we have a shared responsibility to contribute towards overcoming these challenges.
We have set ambitious new targets for our focus areas. We are expanding our commitment to sustainable milk to include our international business, and working with our milk suppliers and partners to bring about systemic change within the industry.
We have now also set specific reduction targets for water consumption and are stepping up our commitment to more environmentally friendly packaging and the circular economy.
Other key developments include the switch to science-based, independently validated CO2 reduction targets under the Science Based Targets initiative and the extension of our obligations to cover our entire value chain.
Ultimately, however, we are well aware that we will only achieve our targets by working closely with our employees, farmers and milk suppliers and also engaging our consumers and partners.
Emmi is a pioneer of the swissmilk green sustainability standard. 93 % of the some 950 million kilograms of milk that we process in Switzerland each year comply with this standard. This gives Swiss dairy products a competitive edge in terms of animal welfare in particular. We are now expanding our commitment to sustainable milk to include our activities outside of Switzerland, with the aim of further improving animal welfare and environmental protection and securing a better future for farmers.
Net-zero path through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
The SBT initiative is a partnership between the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and NGOs such as the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Science-based targets validated by the SBTi help companies like Emmi set net-zero targets for their carbon footprint, an important step in the efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 °C as agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
From food waste to footprint
Emmi held its first-ever Emmi Sustainability Day in 2020, timed to coincide with the United Nations World Environment Day. As well as raising awareness of relevant topics such as food waste, CO2 consumption and biodiversity, employees in 20 locations worldwide engaged in local sustainability activations. At the headquarters in Lucerne, for example, staff measured both their personal environmental footprint and that of the site as a whole with the help of WWF Switzerland.
The value of water
Emmi has committed to reducing its water consumption by 15 % by 2027, and by half in water-scarce regions. External audits will be carried out to provide information on necessary measures and progress made. We have already implemented some initial measures in Tunisia, which have reduced water consumption by around 10 %. We are planning major projects at our subsidiaries in California in 2021, and are also working with our raw materials suppliers on a range of initiatives including sustainable water use in almond cultivation.
less water by 2027
Extending our sphere of influence
Emmi is extending its CO2 reduction obligations beyond its own sphere of influence in 2021. We now measure our emissions along the entire supply chain (scope 3), because around 90 % of all emissions are linked to the production of raw materials, primarily milk production. We want to work with milk suppliers, researchers and authorities to develop and promote more sustainable practices in this area and drive systemic change.
Environmentally friendly yogurt pot
The Emmi sustainability competition is an established part of the company’s corporate and change agenda. In 2020, the winning project selected by the jury, made up of representatives from WWF Switzerland, the Energy Agency of the Swiss Private Sector (EnAW) and Emmi Group Management, was a yogurt pot made out of paper that produces around 60 % less CO2 emissions than a conventional pot. With Emmi’s Swiss facilities alone getting through 600 million pots every year, this makes a marked difference.
Supporting farmers and regional milk production
A foundation established by our subsidiary Vitalait in 2019 aims to secure a better future for dairy farmers and promote sustainable regional milk production in Tunisia. To date, around 1,800 farmers have taken advantage of the guidance and advice offered by dairy experts to gain a better understanding of topics relating to animal feeding, husbandry and care, environmentally friendly soil management and water usage. The foundation also contributes up to 30 % towards the cost of labour-saving tools such as milking equipment.
farmers trained in Tunisia