About Arla Foods
Arla Foods is a European dairy cooperative owned by around 9,700 Arla farmers from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Sweden and the Netherlands. In 2019, the company, which has around 19,000 employees, generated global sales of 10.5 billion euros. Arla products are sold worldwide under well-known brand names such as Arla®, Castello®, Lurpak® and Puck® in more than 120 countries. The company is the world’s largest producer of organic dairy products. In Germany, Arla Foods is represented by strong brands such as Arla Buko®, Arla® Skyr and Kaergarden®. Germany is one of the six core markets of the company. In this country, Arla Foods is the third largest dairy company and employs around 1,900 people in two large dairy plants and the German headquarters in Düsseldorf. 1,730 German, 575 Belgian, 180 Luxembourg and 65 Dutch cooperative members supply the plants with milk. Further information can be found at www.arlafoods.de.
Updated Arlagården® quality programme: Arla farmers increase transparency and focus on sustainability
To help Arla Foods make the transition to even more sustainable milk production, the European cooperative has updated its Arlagården® quality and sustainability programme to better capture the work on member farms and generate one of the dairy industry’s most comprehensive digital records.
The Arlagården® quality programme has existed since 2003 and makes an important contribution to ensuring the highest quality milk for which Arla Foods is renowned. With the revised programme, Arla’s audit system and documentation will be fully harmonised – for all 9,700 cooperative members in seven European countries.
As part of one of the world’s leading companies in sustainable milk production, Arla Foods’ cooperative members are already among the most climate-friendly milk producers in the world. They need less than half of the average emissions of global milk production to produce one litre of milk. The cooperative has also set itself an ambitious goal: it wants to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and work towards net zero CO2e emissions by 2050.
Audits ensure conformity and trust
In the future, the revised Arlagården® will shift its focus – from the details of management to the results achieved in terms of conformity with Arlagården standards. One of the biggest changes in the new Arlagården® is that all Arla farmers will carry out their own quarterly inspections on their farms. To assist them in this task, the farmers have access to a digital knowledge and data portal that enables them to submit their data to the cooperative. The first period of data collection has already started and ran until 2 June 2020, creating a large database that will enable cooperative members to seize new opportunities.
In addition to the self-checks, there will be three different types of audits on the farms. All of them will be carried out by SGS, a leading Swiss company in the field of inspection, testing, verification and certification. A baseline audit will be carried out at the farms at least every three years, while focus audits will be initiated if the baseline audit or the transmitted data from the self-check reveal irregularities. In addition, there will be randomly selected sample audits, which will be carried out within 48 hours of their announcement.
Developed by cooperative members
Since the beginning of 2019, members from the entire Arla cooperative have been working hard to define new standards and develop the new audit system. The following improvements have been made to the program:
– Updated standards: The updated sections of the new Arlagården® continue to focus on milk quality, food safety and animal welfare. In addition, the focus on sustainability has been increased.
– A strengthened audit system and digital documentation: The new two-part audit system consists of a combination of quarterly internal inspections and external audits on Arla member farms. During the self-checks, farmers confirm compliance with Arlagården® standards by submitting answers to 119 questions via a digital data portal. The audits verify the farmers’ data and compliance with the standards.
– More flexibility for farmers: Wherever possible, the standards focus more on the results than on the way to achieve the results. As a result, farmers are largely free to decide how to implement the new standards – as long as the results fully meet Arla’s standards.
– Greater transparency: As Arla’s cooperative members are required to submit their data digitally, both the farmers and Arla will have greater transparency about current compliance and the latest developments. The data collected will be of great importance to drive further improvements and support the cooperative in Arla’s dialogue with customers and consumers.