Certified environmental responsibility

Valio has committed itself to the acquisition of technology that reduces environmental impacts, using raw materials and energy efficiently, and favouring returnable, re-usable or recyclable packaging, or that suited to energy fraction. Also we are participating in a study to evaluate the effects of farm feeding solutions on methane production in cows.

Valio has committed itself to the acquisition of technology that reduces environmental impacts, using raw materials and energy efficiently, and favouring returnable, re-usable or recyclable packaging, or that suited to energy fraction. Also we are participating in a study to evaluate the effects of farm feeding solutions on methane production in cows.

Environmental certificate renewed in 2009

Valio has held the ISO 14001 environmental certificate covering its domestic operations since the year 2000 and the certificate was re-approved in 2012. Environment

al system performance undergoes continuous evaluation via internal and external audits, while our environmental goals are determined in three-year programs augmented by intermediate annual goals.

New environmental initiatives

Valio’s 2012-2014 environmental program sets out to reduce waste water load and volume in proportion to the quantity of milk taken in. The presentation of figures in proportion to that quantity constitutes an international standard in the dairy industry and in order to avoid overlapping data, energy efficiency improvement was transferred from the environmental system to the development program under the energy efficiency agreement.

 

Chemical safety requirements met

Valio’s key raw material is the raw milk from its producers’ farms. We also use e.g. jams, purées and vegetable oils as well as auxiliaries and additives. Chemicals are employed in cleaning and disinfecting pipes and equipment, and in whey processing.

 

The environmental impacts of the acids and alkalis used are linked to the operation of waste water purification plants.

 

Under normal conditions, acids and alkalis neutralise each other naturally, or waste water is neutralised prior to the purification process.

 

Our refrigeration facilities use ammonia. Inspections conducted by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency which supervises the use of hazardous chemicals denote that safety at Valio plants meets requirements.

 

Cleaning in Place saves water

Two operations that consume a great deal of water in dairies are cooling and cleaning. Cooling is primarily accomplished using surface water that is returned to natural waterways via a heat exchanger. Cleaning maintains production hygiene essential to product quality. We favour Cleaning in Place (CIP) and recycle usable water to decrease water and chemicals consumption. All Valio sites bar one are connected to a municipal waste water purification plant.

Steam, electricity and emissions

Dairy processes consume energy in the form of steam and electricity. The latter is required in process equipment use and cooling. Valio expends thermal energy in drying powder products, the heat treatment of some products, for cleaning and to heat buildings. Valio plant boiler rooms are maintained by subcontractors.

The quality and quantity of emissions from energy production depend on the fuel employed. Valio’s Lapinlahti and Seinäjoki boiler plants are included in the emissions trading system under the Kyoto Protocol.

More waste to energy fraction

Valio Production’s waste management is based on sorting. We have succeeded in reducing the amount of waste disposed of as refuse by improving waste sorting and forwarding more waste to energy fraction.

Valio directs all faulty batches of fresh dairy products and products returned from shops to the A-rehu feed factory in Varkaus, where liquid products are separated from packages. Product waste is forwarded for use as animal feed applying procedures in accordance with the EU’s animal by-product regulation. Unpacked batches deemed unsuitable for animal feed are forwarded for use in the production of biogas as approved in accordance with the animal by-product regulation.

Recycling and re-use

In Finland, Valio transports liquid products to customers in reusable milk boxes, trolleys and dollies. They are subsequently returned to the dairy and washed prior to re-use, while obsolete transport units are recycled.

In 2012, 75 % of the total material used in Valio’s consumer packages was cardboard, which makes recycling fast and efficient and minimises environmental impacts. Valio favours returnable, re-usable or recyclable packaging, or that suited to energy fraction. And around 80% of Valio packages are recyclable. Directions for recycling can be found on our website.

Valio has a 25% shareholding in Suomen NP-kierrätys Oy which handles the collection and re-use of fibre packages (e.g. beverage cartons), working together with other companies that use fibre packages.