GLOBAL ICE CREAM brand Ben & Jerry's is increasing its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions with a move towards 'carbon insetting' to improve supply chain resilience and resource efficiency.
In its 2013 Social and Environmental Assessment (SEAR) report, Ben & Jerry's announced investment in a Manure Separator project in a bid to monetise the carbon savings in the Unilever subsidiary's supply chain. It is estimated that the project will reduce 10,550 metric tonnes of CO2 over the first 10 years of operation.
The 2013 SEAR report says that the company knows it has to work harder to help ease their impact on the environment adding: "For many years, we have invested aggressively in energy-efficient technology from cooling systems to lighting to water and waste management systems at our manufacturing plants.
"We continue to devise and pursue innovative plans to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our business, to respond to the urgent challenge of climate change."
The Manure Separator project was launched in partnership with Vermont-based Native Energy and takes the idea of voluntary carbon credits a step further than carbon offsetting, by monetising the carbon savings of the firm's own supply chain.
Farms which are already part of the Ben & Jerry’s ‘Caring Dairy’ sustainability programme can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by removing a portion of the manure solids which are traditionally broken down and produce methane.
The project also strengthens the financial sustainability of each farm by reducing the costs associated with bedding, hauling and spreading waste material.
The SEAR report indicates that over the past year Ben & Jerry's has reduced its solid waste by 195.8%, while water use improved by 1.2% on a like-for-like basis. It does, however, note a 12.3% increase in CO2 emissions in 2013 (kg per unit of production), with total energy usage also increasing, by 0.7% year-on-year.
Two of Ben & Jerry's North American manufacturing plants in Vermont have already achieved zero waste-to-landfill by sending ice cream waste to local farms with methane digesters which generate electricity. Anything that cannot be recycled, reused or composted is incinerated, with the heat used to generate further electricity.