A very special “eco-cheese” network
In Kaltbach, new photovoltaic systems are supplying electricity for its cave-aged range of speciality cheeses. This means that the milk produced by farmer ambassador Marcel Arnold, which is brought to the Schlierbach cheese dairy and then refined as Emmentaler AOP in Kaltbach, passes through three places where photovoltaic systems are used on the journey to its final destination. The cave-aged Kaltbach masterpieces are therefore also sun-ripened, in a way.
Cooling, heating, pumping, centrifuging, cleaning – and much more. The manufacture of dairy products requires large amounts of energy. At Emmi, the majority of this energy still comes from fossil fuels such as gas or oil. But that is about to change: Emmi is increasingly focusing on boosting energy efficiency and making increased use of renewable energy sources in its operations worldwide in order to reduce Group-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2027, based on a "netZERO 2050" vision.
Part of the solution is sustainable electricity. Since the beginning of 2021, Emmi has been purchasing green electricity certificates for all Emmi locations worldwide – only the “Vitalait” site in Tunisia is still outstanding. But that is only the start: the aim now is to make the energy supply in Emmi’s own facilities more sustainable in order gradually to replace oil, gas and diesel altogether. Solar energy makes a contribution to this. Today, 13 sites belonging to Emmi and its subsidiaries in Switzerland and abroad are already equipped with photovoltaic or solar thermal systems.
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Optimal roof pitch in Kaltbach
The photovoltaic plant in Kaltbach, which went into operation in July, has now given rise to a small “eco cheese” network: This is because the roofs of both the Bodenacherhof farm belonging to Emmi milk supplier and farmer ambassador Marcel Arnold in Wikon, Lucerne, from where the milk is delivered to the Schlierbach cheese dairy, and the Schlierbach cheese dairy, which matures some of its Emmentaler AOP in Kaltbach, are fitted with solar cells. Operations Manager Roland Ziswiler explains: “Our roofs are ideally suited to capturing the sun for our specialty cheeses, further reducing our energy output. So our cave-aged specialties are sun-ripened as well, in a way.”
“It’s great to have renewable energy on the farm, in the cheese dairy and in Kaltbach. This helps to reduce our ecological footprint.“
Partnerships offer potential
A good example of how Emmi not only uses its own facilities for solar energy, but also works with partners, is the cheese cooperative in Schlierbach, from which the Emmental AOP cheese dairy of the same name is leased. Between ten and twelve loaves of Emmentaler AOP are produced here every day – and since the spring using solar energy. The cheeses, which regularly receive top marks, are mostly matured in the Kaltbach cave.
President Bruno Arnold says: “With our solar installation, we are making an important contribution to sustainability and to achieving the “Vision netZERO” 2050 as an external Emmi company.”
This is a source of pride for Marcel Arnold as well: “It’s great to have renewable energy on the farm, in the cheese dairy and in Kaltbach. This helps to reduce our ecological footprint.”