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Creating 100% Carbon Neutral Foods Starts With Milk

A quick exercise if you will; imagine one item in your refrigerator. Now, think about how it got there. 

Chances are that item began at a farm in some form. Then most likely transported to a place to be processed and packaged. From there, the item was delivered to the grocery store for you to pick out and buy. But what about the emissions of the trucks delivering it? The material in which it's packaged? Where did that plastic, glass, paper, etc., come from? Experts use cradle-to-grave analysis to meticulously track the entire lifecycle of a product and measure the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced.

In 2012, Dr. Greg Thoma, conducted a cradle-to-grave analysis of dairy milk at the University of Arkansas. The study measured the lifecycle of dairy milk down to the production of the fertilizer that grew the feed for the dairy cow. This analysis now serves as the basis for a relatively new company, Neutral Foods. Today, their only product is cartons of milk, and they pledge that their product is 100% carbon neutral.

To keep this promise, the company has hired Dr. Thoma to serve as the chief science advisor and lead the calculations of each of its products. To create a carbon- neutral product, Neutral Foods partners with farmers to help reduce emissions of the dairy coming straight from the farm. They then invest in verified carbon offsets from dairy products to cover what cannot be reduced. Their website states, “We know not all offsets are created equal. That’s why Neutral Foods only acquires offsets from U.S. dairy farmers that are verified by Climate Action Reserve (CAR), American Carbon Registry, and VERRA. Verifying our offsets through accredited auditors ensures the carbon offset projects we support are real, additional, permanent, verifiable, and enforceable.” To take it a step further, Neutral Food’s product is also certified carbon neutral by SCS Global Services, an international leader in third-party certification, validation, and verification for environmental, sustainability, and food safety and quality performance claims.

Neutral Foods has tailored their whole business model to deliver a verifiable carbon neutral product. People like Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, and LeBron James have begun to take notice and invest. As governments and companies begin plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, most of the focus goes to electricity and transportation. But agriculture shouldn’t be overlooked as it accounts for over 19% of total greenhouse gas emissions according to Breakthrough Energy Ventures. The company is beginning to expand into creating neutral butter and they do not show signs of stopping anytime soon.

Neutral Foods is a great example that reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to only come from eliminating the products you love, but investing in more sustainable versions


  1. “Greenhouse gas emissions from milk production and consumption in the United States: A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment circa 2008” Science Direct

  2. “Neutral Foods gets money from Gates, Cuban, and LeBron James to help dairy farmers cut greenhouse gas emissions” CNBC

  3.  Neutral Foods

  4. "Neutral Foods gets money from Gates, Cuban, and LeBron James to help dairy farmers cut greenhouse gas emissions" Food Navigator- USA


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