Valio’s production chain from field to table affects the environment in many ways in Valio’s primary production and production plants. Sustainable milk production and processing is one of the five key themes of Valio’s ongoing drive for sustainability.
The most significant environmental impacts stem from our wastewater load, wastewater volume, and energy consumption. Their development has been tracked for years and the trend has been largely positive due to major water and energy saving projects.
The wastewater volume generated by Valio returned last year to its 1999 level after a few years of poorer performance, and totalled around 5 250 000 m3. The COD load in wastewater has decreased continuously and stood at around 9 000 tonnes last year. (COD = chemical oxygen demand, which in practice reflects ingredients or products that have found their way into wastewater.)
Since no progress has been made on water consumption efficiency, we have set a goal to considerably enhance that efficiency and develop wastewater management in the production plants. I strongly believe we have great deal of unexploited potential in this area.
Valio participates in the food industry energy-efficiency program which commenced in 2008. We reached the goal with flying colours and Valio was recognised for that achievement. It should however be noted that the increase in raw milk volume and changes in the product mix have resulted in a slight increase in Valio’s energy consumption despite the measures.
We’re participating in the new energy-efficiency program that started at the beginning of 2017 and extends to 2025. The goal is to improve energy efficiency in Valio’s operations by at least 7.5% compared to energy consumption in 2015. We’re also looking to increase our share of renewable energy to more than 70%.
Package production is continuing to move towards renewable materials. Our lead project is that by the end of 2018 all Valio’s gable-top milk, cultured buttermilk, cream and yoghurt packages sold in Finland will be manufactured from completely renewable plant-based materials.