Environmental responsibility

Valio is actively promoting environmentally friendly milk production. The environmental programmes of Valio plants are more strict than the required minimum, and over 80% of the packaging is made out of recycled materials.

Valio's environmental policy

Valio’s environmental policy commits us to decreasing emissions and product wastage, and enhancing the use of resources in both primary production and industrial operations.

This report describes the environmental impacts of industrial operations.

In production and transports, Valio favours efficient technology with low impacts on climate and waterways.

Valio favours Finnish fuels in heat production. In purchasing electrical energy in Finland, Valio favours available low emission alternatives that secure a sufficient and steady supply of electricity and are competitively priced.

The milk collection and product distribution routes are optimised using a two-tier system, and environmentally sound alternatives are piloted in distribution.

Valio favours returnable, re-usable or recyclable packaging, or that suited to energy fraction. The figures reported cover Valio’s operations in Finland. As of the beginning of 2009, the figures have also included Valio’s Suonenjoki jam plant (formerly Nordic Jam Ltd).

Valio’s environmental system

The certificate was re-approved in 2012 to be in force until 29 September 2015. Environmental system performance undergoes continuous evaluation via internal and external audits.

Valio’s environmental goals are determined in three-year programs, and annual intermediate goals are set on the basis of the specific measures to be taken.

Environmental goals 2012–2014

Environmental goals 2012–2014

The intermediate goals set for 2013 were not met. Production related problems at two plants affected the waste water volume and waste water load.

Raw materials and production volumes

Raw materials and production volumes

Valio’s most important raw material is the raw milk that comes from its producers’ farms. We also use e.g. jams, purées and concentrates, and ingredients such as salt, sugar and vegetable oils.

Chemicals are employed in the cleaning and disinfection of pipes and equipment, and in whey processing. The environmental impacts of the acids and alkalis used are directed at 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. In exceptional situations, overly acidic or alkaline waste water may disturb a purification plant’s operation.

Valio plants’ refrigeration facilities use ammonia which is toxic to humans and harmful to waterborne organisms if discharged, but is nevertheless commonly used in large refrigeration plants.


In 2013, Valio’s production plants took in 1 756.7 million litres of raw milk to be used for their own production. In addition, a total of 13 700 tonnes of jams, purées and concentrates, and 25 100 tonnes of other auxiliary and raw materials, such as salt, sugar and vegetable oil, were used in production.

A total of 892 million kilos of dairy products and juices was produced during 2013. Valio took in 32.6 million litres of organic milk.

Of the most important chemicals, 6 130 tonnes of 50% sodium hydroxide and 2 487 tonnes of 60% nitric acid were used. The ingredients plants’ processes consumed 5 230 tonnes of 33% hydrochloric acid.

The refrigeration facilities at Valio plants held a total of 114 tonnes of ammonia at year-end 2013, a decrease of 15 tonnes from year-end 2012.

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency, which supervises the large scale use of hazardous chemicals, inspected two Valio plants in 2013, and no faults were found that pose a threat to safety.

Water consumption and waste water

Water consumption and waste water

Two operations that consume a lot 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. Production hygiene is maintained through cleaning.

Valio favours Cleaning in Place (CIP) over batch cleaning in its efforts to decrease water consumption, and saves on water and chemicals by optimising process equipment CIP and recycling usable water.

The substantial use of water and the high load caused by product residues ending up in waste water make dairies’ waste water a significant environmental risk.

Valio sites bar one are connected to a municipal waste water purification plant, and especially in small towns Valio’s load is considerable compared to that of the town itself.


Valio used 3.6 million cubic metres of surface water from waterways for process flow cooling in 2013. The company also consumed 4.7 million cubic metres of household water: 4.3 million from municipal waterworks and 0.4 million from its own supply. The consumption of reused water totalled 1.2 million cubic metres in 2013.

The consumption of clean household water increased by 2.6% on the previous year. In 2013, Valio production plants discharged 5.2 million cubic metres of waste water, 2.9% more than in the previous year.

The chemical oxygen demand (COD) describing the amount of organic substances in waste water (10 364 tonnes) was 5.2% down on the previous year.

Cooling and condensation waters were discharged directly to natural waterways. Three plants hold a permit from the water rights court to discharge waters, and one has an environmental permit that includes the option to do so. Obligatory monitoring related to the permits observed no harmful impacts from the discharges in 2013.

Energy consumption and emissions into air

Energy consumption and emissions into air

Large amounts of thermal energy are required in drying powder products, the heat treatment of some products, for cleaning, and in heating buildings. The boiler rooms at Valio plants are maintained by subcontractors.

Energy production results in emissions into air. The quality and quantity of emissions depends on the fuel used in that energy production. Valio’s Lapinlahti and Seinäjoki boiler plants are included in the emissions trading system under the Kyoto Protocol.


Total energy consumption in 2013 stood at 704 GWh, down 1.5% on the previous year.

Electricity accounted for 33% of energy consumption in 2013. Electricity consumption increased by 8.1 GWh on the previous year to stand at 230 GWh.

Thermal energy consumption in 2013 totalled 473 GWh, down 18 GWh on the previous year.

In 2013, heat pumps recovered a total of 19.6 GWh of waste energy from processes.

Valio’s primary sources of thermal energy in 2013, calculated as thermal power, were peat (34%), renewable Finnish fuels (32%), and heavy fuel oil (16%). The use of peat and heavy fuel oil decreased considerably compared with the previous year, and that of renewable Finnish fuels increased. This was due to the new boiler plant for solid fuel introduced at the Lapinlahti plant in 2013.

Carbon dioxide emissions from energy production resulting from burning fossil fuels and peat amounted to 121 000 tonnes, nitrogen oxide emissions to 298 tonnes, sulphur dioxide emissions to 291 tonnes, and particle emissions to 17 tonnes.

Compared with 2012, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and peat decreased considerably, again due to the new boiler plant for solid fuel introduced at the Lapinlahti plant, and to a fall in the use of thermal energy resulting from improved energy efficiency.

Waste management and packages

Waste management and packages

Valio Production’s waste management is based on sorting. Sorting instructions at our production sites have been adapted to local waste management regulations. The company has 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.

The products are processed in accordance with the EU’s animal by-product regulation. Product waste is forwarded for use as animal feed. Unpacked batches not suitable for use as animal feed are forwarded for use in the production of biogas.

Valio Ltd owns a 25% share in Suomen NP-kierrätys Oy, which focuses on policy development in beverage carton package recycling. Suomen NP-kierrätys Oy in turn owns a 25% share in Suomen Kuitukierrätys Oy, which in accordance with the Finnish Waste Act has assumed producer community responsibilities with regard to all fibre packages.

Suomen Kuitukierrätys Oy handles the collection of used fibre packages (e.g. beverage cartons) and the practical arrangements with regard to their recycling, working together with other parties responsible for fibre package recycling.


In 2013, 654 tonnes of waste was forwarded for reuse; mainly corrugated board boxes, wooden pallets and metal barrels. 1 736 tonnes of material, mainly corrugated board and scrap metal, was directed for recycling. Organic waste amounted to a total of 948 tonnes.

The amount of mixed waste totalled 787 tonnes, of which 483 tonnes were disposed of as refuse and 304 tonnes incinerated. There were 1 135 tonnes of sludge from sand drains and 194 tonnes of building waste. Energy fraction totalled 1 494 tonnes in 2013.

The dairy industry produces only a little dangerous waste, the majority being waste oil and solid oily waste from maintenance procedures. In 2013, Valio generated an exceptionally high volume of sludge in oil drains. The total amount of dangerous waste was 151 tonnes.

36 500 tonnes of new packing materials were delivered with products in 2013, of which 24 000 tonnes were destined for the Finnish market and 12 500 tonnes went for export.

12 700 tonnes of beverage carton and 5 000 tonnes of plastic were delivered to the domestic market with products in 2013.

79% of Valio packages for the domestic market in 2013 were made of material for which Finland has a functioning recycling system.