Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

part_innovation In recent years, the dairy industry weathered the worst economic environment in memory. Despite these challenges, Dairy Management Inc. and the entire dairy industry, including Dean Foods, worked together to found the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The Innovation Center is leading the work in developing life-cycle assessments that will be used to guide the dairy industry for many years to come.

Reducing environmental impacts is a shared commitment demonstrated by the Innovation Center’s sustainability initiative, which suggests precompetitive cooperation throughout the dairy industry as the most productive method to reduce environmental and social impacts. The Innovation Center is working with the University Of Arkansas and other academic and research institutions to holistically examine the entire dairy value chain to lessen the environmental impacts of dairy products, including crop production for animal feed, milk production, transportation, processing, packaging, distribution to market, and retail.

We believe the sustainability performance of the entire industry creates the potential for a compelling message to consumers that dairy products are a responsible part of a nutritious diet.  In 2009, the Innovation Center announced an industry-wide goal for GHG reductions at each stage of the dairy value chain, with an overall reduction of 25 percent by 2020 – this, on top of the industry’s previous reductions of dairy farm emissions by 63 percent due to improved management of dairy cow diet and streamlining farm operations. 

The Innovation Center has secured commitments from the United States Department of Agriculture to support the work of the industry and has entered into a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to make improvements throughout the industry. In 2010, the Innovation Center completed a first-of-its-kind farm-to-fridge LCA that examined the entire supply chain from the crops grown for animal feed to the consumer’s refrigerator and eventual disposal of the packaging. To learn more about this landmark research and industry collaboration, visit

Carbon Disclosure Project 

part_carbon We have reported to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) since 2007, and we are proud to have been included in the CDP’s S&P 500 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index for three consecutive years, 2009-2011. In 2010, we were the only company in the consumer staples category to be placed on CDP’s 2010 Performance Index.  View our full CDP response and search for our reports at

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

part_energyStar International Dairy Foods Association and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy have partnered with the U.S. EPA to create the Energy Star Challenge for the Dairy Industry. As a member of both organizations, and as an Energy Star Partner, we have enrolled 72 of our plants in this challenge, which sets a goal to improve energy efficiency by 10 percent in five years.  In 2010, eight of our plants achieved their reduction goal, and an additional 10 plants met the goal in 2011, totaling 18 plants in the first two years of the program.

The Climate Registry

part_climate Dean Foods was named a Founding Reporter of The Climate Registry by being among the first to join the organization. The Climate Registry is a non-profit organization established to measure and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in a common, accurate and transparent manner consistent across industry sectors and borders. 

Other Partners

We also consider the following organizations as key stakeholders that play valuable roles in shaping our sustainability thinking and programs: Grocery Manufacturers Association, International Dairy Foods Association, Agstar, and the World Wildlife fund.


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With the completed spin-off of our WhiteWave business and the sale of our Morningstar business in 2013, all sustainability metrics, going back to 2007, have been recalculated to reflect the current structure of Dean Foods.

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