Dean Foods Edges Toward 2013 Goals with Water, GHG Reductions

Dean Foods Edges Toward 2013 Goals with Water, GHG Reductions

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Tristian Writes Love On Her Arms

Dean Foods trimmed its water use and greenhouse gas emissions over the last year as it moves forward with its Environmental 2013 Roadmap.

The Roadmap is designed to achieve a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 30 percent decline in water use by 2013, both metrics measured per gallon of product produced. Dean Foods also intends to slash its solid waste generation by 30 percent.

So far, the company has cut water use 5.63 percent in one year, and trimmed GHG emissions 5.85 percent in two years, Dean Foods said in its recently released 2010 CSR report. The company also established its waste generation baseline, which was 74,000 tons of solid waste sent to landfill in 2009.

"We're serious about being a responsible leader in the food and beverage sector because it is simply good business," Gregg Tanner, Dean Foods' executive vice president and chief supply chain officer, said in a statement last week. "We continually look for more efficient ways to operate that help our business grow, drive cost and waste out of our systems, and ensure we make a positive impact on the people who manufacture, sell and consume our products."

Among the highlights in the report are details of its partnership with Conservation International to strengthen the integrity of its soybean supply chain. The company's Silk business came under fire in recent years after it began decreasing its organic soybean purchases, instead focusing in non-genetically modified soybeans grown in North America.

In its 2010 CSR report, the company explained how it is partnering with CI to develop the Responsible Soybean Sourcing and Production Program. The partners began collecing data from suppliers in 2009, and an online traceability tool was unveiled in 2010 to allow consumers to trace the soybeans of individual cartons of Silk to the county where they were grown.

Following in the footsteps of Walmart and Procter & Gamble, Dean Foods is also testing a supplier scorecard to grade suppliers' performance in several areas, such as quality, total cost performance, and product and technology leadership, which included questions about sustainability. The process has yielded several success stories with its suppliers, Dean Foods said, including eliminating unnecessary packaging and conducting water audits.

The company has hired an expert in dairy herd health and veterinary medicine to assume a newly-created role of director of dairy stewardship to oversee care of the cows and ro implement best practices with producer partners.

Dean Foods earned a place on the Carbon Disclosure Project's 2010 Carbon Performance Leadership Index.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Tristian Writes Love On Her Arms.