Seeking solutions for calculating the carbon footprint of milk: A case study from Viikki research farm

PhD Yajie Gao reported the progress of the LCA on carbon footprints of milk at the COVERE² Consortium meeting on June 11, at Helsinki Think Corner. The main goal of the LCA study is to determine the carbon footprint (CF) of milk and to identify important farm-level management practices that can mitigate greenhouse
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is conducted based on the case study at Viikki research farm

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is commonly used for assessing environmental impacts of dairy products. PhD Yajie Gao emphasizes that conducting quantified, credible, and standardized LCA of milk products is still challenging for the producers due to a lack of fast, simple, and comprehensive traceability of their environmental footprint.

In the case study at Viikki research farm, we collected and verified data over the course of three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023. The most recent carbon footprint results from EU are pooled as a background data. The milk CF will be analyzed using the Solagro carbon footprint calculator developed by the European Commission, and the Cool Farm Tool developed by the Cool Farm Alliance. Results from the two carbon calculators will be compared and integrated for the comprehensive assessment. The impact of a change in dairy farming practices on the greenhouse gas profile will be evaluated. The effects of different carbon calculators on the results of milk CF will also be identified.

This report covers the LCA methodology and description of implementation, data collection and expected results. The LCA inventory phase is completed by July, the impact assessment and interpretation of results are expected to be finalized by the end of 2024