On Jan. 21, 2020, Starbucks announced a renewed sustainability plan and pledged to become “resource positive—storing more carbon than we emit, eliminating waste and providing more clean freshwater than we use.” Specifically, Starbucks encouraged customers to use milk alternatives in an effort to reduce their collective environmental impact, citing its recent environmental report.
Below is a statement from Murray Sherk, DFO’s Board Chair, in response to the Starbucks announcement:
“Dairy Farmers of Ontario is proud to provide leadership and excellence in the production of high-quality Canadian milk. We are deeply committed to consumers and Ontario’s 3,400 dairy farmers, and while we applaud Starbucks for showing leadership on its environmental impact, the connection drawn to dairy in its recent announcement was disappointing.
“Milk is a natural, affordable and nutritionally rich staple in the homes and lives of many Ontarians, and DFO is proud of that. DFO is also proud of the longstanding partnerships it has established with retailers and food service providers across Ontario who support locally produced dairy. Milk is one of the freshest locally sourced foods consumers have access to on a daily basis, with one of the shortest ingredients lists.
“As dairy farmers, we take our environmental responsibility seriously and are working to reduce our carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. Dairy Farmers of Canada has twice undertaken lifecycle assessment studies to understand Canadian farmers’ evolving impact on greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), water and land. The federal government’s National Inventory Report shows GHGs from dairy cows declined 23 per cent between 1990 and 2016. While this is progress, we recognize we can do more and are committed to sustainability as an ongoing journey.
“We believe an open, evidence-based dialogue about dairy is the best way to help people understand the facts about milk. Dairy Farmers of Ontario would welcome a face-to-face meeting with decision-makers at Starbucks to talk about consumer preferences, the impacts of processing alternatives to dairy and our respective pathways to sustainability.”