Aurora Organic Dairy has announced a major initiative with the University of Michigan to measure and reduce its carbon footprint across the entire product lifecycle, from cattle feed to cartons in retail dairy cases. This research is believed to be the most comprehensive carbon emissions reduction initiative undertaken in the organic dairy industry. It will be funded by the newly established Aurora Organic Dairy Foundation.
The foundation’s first grant of more than $320,000 will finance a long-term research partnership with the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. With the proceeds of the grant, the center will conduct lifecycle and sustainability research at Aurora Organic Dairy’s facilities, including its High Plains organic dairy farm in Colorado and its Coldwater organic dairy farms in Texas.
The center will examine the entire product lifecycle from "seed to shelf," including measures such as growing pasture and cattle feed, manufacturing, and product distribution to retail customers. The study will identify processes that contribute the greatest environmental impacts, focused primarily on total energy consumption and carbon emissions. In Phase II, the center will make recommendations for improving Aurora Organic’s sustainability performance, including energy supply and demand options, non-fuel-related carbon emissions, and energy and greenhouse gases from material resources such as packaging.