Dairy farming has a big carbon footprint—and since we know we’re part of the problem, we’re stepping up to do our share.
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contribute to global warming and climate change. Farming and livestock contribute up to 10% of all U.S. GHGs1. And we all know cows put out methane and produce manure—that’s just what happens on a farm.
To reduce our carbon footprint, we’re partnering with Horizon farmers around the country to invest in training, tools and technology. We’re evolving our farming methods with a focus on soil health, carbon capture, cow care and manure management. We’re prioritizing the use of renewable energy sources and we’re investing in off-farm projects that reduce carbon.
The Horizon organic milk you and your family drink comes from cows that eat grass and feed grown in soil. What affects any part of that cycle, affects all of it. Following organic guidelines and working towards a more sustainable future are ways to do more for the planet by doing more for our cows, our farmer partners, and the land.
For instance, organic guidelines prohibit the use of toxic, persistent pesticides and herbicides anywhere on our farms. This prevents exposure not only for grazing cows, but also for farmers and their families, the soil and its critters, streams and ponds, and other wildlife like birds.
Packaging & Recycling
We’re working to make our packaging 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025. The paperboard we use for our half-gallon cartons is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Get more details at us.fsc.org. Our cartons and single-serve milks are widely recyclable, and our cottage cheese and spreadable butter tubs can be recycled in many communities too. Just follow the How2Recycle® instructions on the pack for your local area and help give your Horizon Organic packaging a second life. Find more details at how2recycle.info.
Helping the herd
Our certified organic cows eat organic feed and graze on organic pasture grasses for at least 120 days per year—and more when weather allows. But even with an organic diet, they still produce methane, a greenhouse gas. To reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we’ve got to help our cows put out less methane and improve the way we manage their manure. So, we’re exploring how to optimize their diets as we follow organic animal welfare standards, with holistic care and plenty of TLC. Curious about other organic cow care principles? Get more info.
Of course, we need healthy soil to grow nutritious grasses for our cows2. Another reason boosting soil health is crucial is because healthy soil holds more carbon—keeping it underground, instead of letting it go into the atmosphere. We’re using 28,000 pilot acres of organic land to study and implement regenerative soil practices. A healthy soil microbiome, full of organic matter and living microbes, also retains water and prevents erosion, and hosts insects and worms. Learn more about soil here.
Transportation and energy
To minimize transport distance to our plants, we optimize pickup routes among our network of farmers. We’ve also signed on to the BSR Sustainable Fuel Buyers’ Principles to encourage our distribution partners to accelerate the transition to low-carbon, sustainable fuels, cutting the GHG emissions that come from transporting milk to retailers. We’re committed to using 100% renewable electricity at our plants by purchasing renewable energy certificates and partnering to expand renewable energy infrastructure where we operate.