Lactalis Dairy company is turning their Sudbury branch vegan

Yvonne O'Halloran

The cats out of the bag… dairy is a sinking ship and the Canadian based branch of Lactalis, are jumping aboard the vegan life-raft before the climate crisis drowns them. Their dairy alternatives include a coconut yoghurt, margarine, and dairy-free milks. From September 30th, all dairy production will end at their Sudbury, Ontario, factory.

One of the main instigators is of course economic as the last decade has seen a decreased demand for dairy products. Canada has recorded a decline in the commercial consumption of milk since 2009. Dairy has become a volatile industry, with future profits threatened by a societal shift to increasing sustainability. With America being the largest producers of milk, maybe their Canadian neighbours could lead the way to a continental shift? Though it is of course… too soon to tell.

However, the overall company is not ceasing dairy production in the slightest and is part of the giant multinational French corporation, Lactalis. Lactalis operates in many different countries, and is one of the largest dairy companies worldwide, with multiple sites placing it second only to Nestlé. As such, this company is largely responsible for a highly significant amount of the worlds dairy production, and by default, greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen and phosphorus contamination of waterways, and animal cruelty. Hence, this shift is both significant and not significant enough.

The climate crisis is already here, and we are still failing to feed current populations. There is no future in dairy, and the sooner governments and corporations address this, the better. This alteration shows that things are changing, but the rate of change needs to accelerate, build momentum, and effectively embody a revolution.

Nonetheless, this micro-shift is enticingly hopeful. Lactalis Ontario report that they will be keeping the majority of the same staff, showing that in theory, companies can decide to do something different and we don’t have to be so afraid of saying goodbye to industries that are harming the planet. Instead, we should approach the climate crisis as inspiration for industrial innovation that can invent new jobs with cleaner consciences. As well as this, the expertise of those whose livelihoods are built around dairy are not wasted, for the CEO of Lactalis Canada, Mark Taylor, claims there are transferable skills- “Our purpose is to enrich and nurture the lives of Canadians and this holds the same for our new offering, which will provide consumers with complementary high-quality plant-based products that will benefit from our current capacity and capabilities as well as our rich and long-standing dairy expertise”.

Article written by Aisling Geraghty- Australia

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