Finns ranked Valio as the most sustainable brand for the seventh consecutive year. Sustainable Brand Index is Europe’s biggest survey measuring the sustainability of brands. The survey indicates that people consider Finnish origin, animal welfare and sustainable packaging as especially important.
“We are delighted that Finns continue to view Valio as the most sustainable brand. We receive the recognition humbly, and we will continue the work to improve the wellbeing of the environment, animals and people. We believe there is a place for sustainably produced Finnish dairy products also in the future,” says Valio’s CEO Annikka Hurme.
“The climate and environmental impacts of milk production have been topics of recent discussions. Ranking Valio as Finland’s most sustainable brand shows that Valio has been successful in communicating about the concrete actions it is taking for sustainable milk production. It is an impressive achievement,” says Erik Elvingsson Hedén, Founder and Managing Director of Sustainable Brand Index.
“The globally exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus has shown that taking care of food security and sustainability are more important in the 2020s than perhaps ever before. In exceptional situations, our responsibility for society is emphasised. Our task is to ensure that people get food in all situations. Most important at this moment is caring for the health of our employees and milk producers so that we can continue this work,” Hurme adds.
Background information on Valio’s sustainability approach and the survey
All profits to Finnish dairy farms
Valio is a cooperative-based company owned by 4,700 dairy farmers around Finland. Valio annually injects one billion euros into Finland and pays all its operating profits to dairy farms. In the survey, the Finnish origin of Valio’s products was an important issue to Finns.
Ambitious climate targets
Valio’s goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of milk to zero by 2035. This means reducing emissions and sequestering at least an equal amount of carbon from the air that is generated at dairy farms, in transportation, at the factory, in the production of packaging, and elsewhere along the milk chain.
Some of the concrete measure include the training of 240 dairy farm entrepreneurs to become carbon farmers, i.e. to sequester more carbon in their fields; we started using recycled plastic in our packaging, and we committed to setting scientifically assessed climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement. Our biggest challenges are related to recycling manure as fuel and emissions from peatlands drained from wetlands. We are working with our partners to explore solutions to these challenges.
Special characteristics of Finnish milk production: cows eat grass and are only prescribed antibiotics if necessary
The way milk is produced in Finland is quite different than in many other countries. For example, the cows primarily eat grass, no soy at all. Animals are only prescribed antibiotics if necessary.
In Finland, about 80 percent of beef comes from dairy cows or bulls that are raised for beef. When both milk and beef are sourced from the same animal, emissions per milk and beef portion are smaller. In many countries, beef and milk production have been separated from each other.
About 95 percent of the milk used by Valio is from farms that receive a sustainability bonus. The bonus encourages dairy farms to improve animal welfare through voluntary measures. Our goal is for all dairy farms to be within the sphere of the sustainability bonus by the end of this year.
How the survey was conducted
Sustainable Brand Index is Europe’s biggest sustainability survey, and it has been conducted annually since 2011, now for the 10th time. The goal of the survey is to spread and increase the knowledge on sustainability. A total of about 58,000 people took part in the 2020 survey in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The respondents are a representative sample of each country’s population.
Read more about the results of the survey on the Sustainable Brand Index website.
Top 10, Sustainable Brand Index 2020