Danone has unveiled its facility in Wexford, Ireland, as the first baby formula production site in the world to be certified carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust, an independent global climate change and sustainability consultancy.

The move is a step in the company’s goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and is a part of Danone’s ‘One Planet. One Health’ frame of action.

According to the firm, Danone Wexford is located in one of the world’s leading sustainable grass-fed dairy sectors and employs 350 people.

The plant produces brands such as Aptamil, Cow & Gate and Nutrilon for consumers in 41 countries around the world, the multinational firm said.

The plant sustainably manufactures high-quality baby formula by:

  • Curbing carbon emissions: The plant sources 100% renewable electricity and uses a biomass boiler powered by sustainable wood fuels. This has resulted in 10,000t of CO2 savings compared to the plant’s emissions in 2010, representing a 70% reduction in its direct carbon footprint, whilst doubling its production volumes since then. Since the end of 2019, the remaining direct carbon emissions of the plant have been fully offset with Gold Standard certificates;
  • Implementing digital technologies for efficiencies and sustainability performance: The facility has developed a digital roadmap which includes a significant number of initiatives to become a paperless site, using drones for monitoring inventory and innovative technologies for monitoring energy;
  • Supporting local economy: The sustainable wood fuel powering the boiler is sourced from the local wood chipping industry, also delivering a positive economic impact in Wexford county;
  • Contributing to regenerative agriculture practices in Ireland: As a verified member of Origin Green, the only global food and drink sustainability program uniting government, food producers and the private sector;
  • Achieving zero-waste to landfill: All waste from production processes or packaging materials is recovered

Emmanuel Faber, chairman and CEO of Danone, said: “At extraordinary times like the one we are living at the moment, it is more important than ever to protect the local ecosystems where we operate and create sustainable value for everyone.

“The carbon neutral certification of Danone Wexford is an excellent illustration of implementing climate action to protect the health of the planet and of the people. It is also a step towards realising our commitment to achieving zero net carbon emissions across our entire value chain by 2050.

“This is only a first step and we should accelerate even more to create a low-emissions, climate resilient future.”

Danone said that it is also committed to reducing the climate impact of its other baby formula production site in Macroom, which relies on natural gas for its energy needs.

With the objective of achieving carbon neutrality, Danone stands at the forefront of those calling for the establishment of a biogas industry as a renewable alternative to natural gas in Macroom.