GHG: who foots the bill?

Managing Director Henk Bles sets forth his views about the future of dairy farming worldwide. In this article his vision on sustainable farming. 

GHG: who foots the bill?

Every day one can read something about climate change, climate goals, sustainable  models, etc. Tons of papers are written and tremendous number of hours are spent by governments, institutes, business parties etc. on finding solutions for preventing from climatic changes and environmental disruptions leading us to global instability and migration. Environmental organizations collect millions of dollars for scientific research, traveling around the world to proof they must be right and that it should lead to a much better world. The more they lobby and the more is published that the world is in serious danger, the more money they can collect. Is this efficient and is it the right way? Has anyone ever raised the question why we faced an increase of temperature since the ice age during hundreds of years?


Why not spend more of this money in developing innovations and technology? Why not emphasize more on the fact that growth of the world’s population has the greatest impact on the environment? Why not change consumers’ behavior in reducing waste of food or dumping rubbish and plastics? A positive and great example occurred at the World Football Tournament this year in Russia: Japanese supporters cleaned there part of the stadium after the match. Instead of circulating the economy, we circulate money, driven by fear and uncertainty. We mainly focus on GHG emissions and not on GHG absorptions.

Due to the growth of the world’s population, the pressure of the agricultural sector on our environment increases. Today the agricultural sector contributes globally in average for 24% to the GHG emissions. This needs to be addressed. That means that our sector should take its responsibility and that we must contribute in finding better and more sustainability models.

The Netherlands at 13%

In The Netherlands, the GHG contribution of the agricultural sector is 13%. This is about half of the global agricultural contribution to emissions. Would this mean that agricultural production in The Netherlands is much more sustainable than in the rest of the world? And that hence we can provide the world with sustainable solutions? I think we can. In the dairy farming sector Bles Dairies takes responsibility and will contribute in providing these solutions.

An important question remains to be solved namely: who foots the bill? We are proud our government supports innovations and technology. Our government is proud The Netherlands is one of the largest dairy exporters of the world. We are all proud we have the lowest footprint per kg milk produced. Despite these great achievements our growing society worries about its wellbeing. People easily accuse farmers for the cause of the environmental challenges. Our farmers, who are feeding the world’s growing population but, contradictorily enough, should  foot the bill?

In many discussions about developing sustainable models we forget to ask ourselves who is going to foot this bill. Without answering these questions, all tons of papers and millions of expensive hours spent are a waste of money. Let’s start first to change our own assumptions and behaviors by not  criticizing but by communicating and cooperating.

Henk Bles
CEO of Bles Dairies