Through our work, we also contribute to social development and count on the commitment of our suppliers and partners every day – from the farmers who supply our milk to our trading partners to the communities where our farms are located. Only by working together will we be able to create long-term added value and successfully develop our business in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.
In rural regions, in particular, we directly and indirectly create substantial added value and support our milk suppliers in a variety of ways to produce more sustainably. We also ensure that all of our procurement is conducted in accordance with ethical principles and that human and animal rights are respected throughout our supply chain. Specific initiatives and partnerships, such as with WWF Switzerland, round off our social commitment as a primary provider of safe, high-quality and nutritious dairy products to millions of people.
Naturally, our vision of sustainable milk production also includes environmental aspects. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from milk production, we have therefore set ourselves the target of reducing emissions from milk production by 25% per kg of milk as part of our environmental field of action.
Our 2027 target
We will process 100% sustainable milk worldwide
We strive to stand for products made from sustainable milk – worldwide. To reach this target, all milk suppliers must meet regionally above-average standards by 2027. In our domestic market of Switzerland, where sustainability has long been an important differentiator compared to milk products from other countries, we are committed to further developing the ‘swissmilk green’ industry standard.
We are a pioneer of the sustainability standard ‘swissmilk green’. As early as 2016, we set ourselves the goal of only processing sustainably produced cow’s milk in Switzerland. Our efforts contributed to the launch of the joint ‘swissmilk green’ standard by the Swiss dairy industry in September 2019, which incorporated a large number of our considerations. Swiss dairy farmers must meet ten basic and two additional requirements.
Today, 94% of the approximately 950 million kilograms of milk processed by us in Switzerland every year already meet the standard. Almost every ninth dairy farmer and supplier that we use produce in accordance with the standard, thereby helping to ensure that Swiss dairy products are ahead of the field, particularly in terms of animal welfare.
To further improve animal welfare, environmental protection and prospects for farmers, we are extending our commitment to sustainable milk to our activities beyond Switzerland. Based on a list of criteria developed with experts, we assess the initial situation: how sustainably are the milk suppliers in our subsidiaries producing, and how do they compare with the regional average? On this basis, we are setting targets by the end of 2022 for improvements to be achieved by 2027.
Locally initiated programmes also support prospects for farmers. For example, in Tunisia, where the foundation initiated by Vitalait advises more than 1,800 farmers on a variety of topics, including feeding, keeping cows, careful management of the soil and economical use of water.