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Danone launches its plan to cut back methane emissions

“A molecule of methane warms the environment 28 instances greater than CO2, even when it stays there eight instances much less time”, launches Lucile Rogissart, researcher on the Institute of Economics for the Local weather. As we speak, agriculture and livestock produce 40% of the methane linked to human exercise. Cattle launch this gasoline into the environment by belching. “Ruminants have a specific digestion course of: enteric fermentation, chargeable for the discharge of this greenhouse gasoline”, provides the researcher. Their manure can be a methane emitter.

Agrifood giants, together with Danone, have set themselves the objective of lowering their greenhouse gasoline emissions by 30% by 2030, as a part of the “World Methane Pledge”, established at COP26. . Danone needs to implement these measures on 58,000 dairy farms that offer it with recent milk, in twenty nations. They characterize 70% of its methane emissions.

A number of options are envisaged: improve within the productiveness of cows, use of breeds with much less emissions, optimization of diets, system for filtering methane. “From 2015, Danone was one of many first to take an curiosity in these points, the dedication and the desire are there”, notes Nicole Ouvrard, agricultural engineer and deputy director of the Agra company, a press company offering political and financial data on agriculture.

Evaluate cow feed

The agrifood large is betting on adapting cattle feed, which might cut back their emissions by 1% to 12%. Specifically, meals dietary supplements based mostly on seaweed are envisaged. This would scale back 80% of their emissions, in line with an experiment whose outcomes had been revealed within the on-line scientific journal Plos One, in 2021. Danone has invested within the American start-up Symbrosia, which specializes within the growth of those meals components .

If some farms are on pasture and others inside buildings, “it’s essential to feed cows with protein in order that they produce sufficient milk”, specifies the agricultural engineer. In France, desire needs to be given to rapeseed meal, produced regionally, over soybean meal. Due to its transport and its manufacturing circumstances, the latter emits thrice extra greenhouse gases.

However the primary problem lies within the self-sufficiency of farms, by appearing on the qualities of the grasslands“for instance, by including legumes or grasses to the herbage”, explains the agronomist.

Situation the animal

Danone desires to make use of races that produce much less methane: in line with a report by CE Delft, an impartial analysis group, this might cut back their emissions by 3 to eight%. Lucile Rogissart is extra circumspect: “We need to have animals which can be extra resilient to droughts, that produce extra, are cheaper by way of feed and emit much less methane… Genetics can not remedy all the pieces directly. A minimum of within the brief time period. »

For its half, a start-up, Zelp, is at the moment engaged on a tool on the stage of the nostrils, to filter methane when ruminants belch. “We should not fall into one thing troublesome for the animal to bear”notes the agricultural engineer.

A 2021 United Nations report as an alternative advocates behavioral modifications similar to lowering meals waste and bettering farm administration.

The necessity to assist breeders

“What value will all these measures have for farmers and shoppers? », asks Lucile Rogissart. Danone has not but given a determine. To speculate, it’s essential to seek out financing and permit breeders to be worthwhile. As we speak, the herd of cows decreases in France for financial and social causes, fewer farmers are prepared to do that painful job. “It isn’t even worthwhile for the breeders anymore, the costs of meat and milk usually are not excessive sufficient provides the economist.

“Shoppers have to be prepared to pay extra. We can not put the burden solely on the breeders, argues Nicole Ouvrard. Not all farms have the identical assets. The agri-food business and the State should accompany this transition. »


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