Who knew that a goat cheese company had a serious plan for fighting climate change? Now I do, and we ALL should be making it our business to know more about the companies behind the products we buy, consume and use. Our “purchasing power’ is one direct way of fighting climate change. By supporting companies that are trying to be more sustainable in the “here and now” and that make corporate social responsibility part of their long term planning, we can actively make a difference.
But I digress. Let me tell you what I recently learned about Montchevre, an American goat cheese company, and their sustainability goals. As many of you know, I blog for Lifetime TV’s The Balancing Act. From time to time, the show makes a point of alerting me to companies that the Balancing Act is working with – those companies that have sustainable business goals and ideas – that they think our Climate Mamas and Papas might be interested in learning more about. One of these companies is Montchevre.
Here is a quick look at Montchevre’s Mission Statement:
To grow the goat cheese market by offering outstanding cheeses a the very best value;
To promote sustainable farming for all our milk producers;
To provide a safe and pleasant work environment for all our employees with fair wages and great benefits;
To respect our environment by investing in renewable energy, reducing waste and limiting our carbon footprint;
To be socially responsible and invest in charitable and sustainable projects.
I found out as well that Montchevre makes A LOT of goat cheese, around 12 million pounds of goat cheese annually, actually. This goat cheese is made in large part by collecting 85 million pounds of goat milk from 340 independent family farms. Making 12 million pounds of goat cheese also translates into about 35 million pounds of wastewater, or, according to Montchevre, 16 truckloads of wastewater a day.
Creating this amount of waste daily didn’t fit in well with Montchevre’s sustainability mission, so as of October 2010, Monchevre has put in place a system that transforms their wastewater into energy. In fact they were the first goat cheese manufacturer in the US to use this type of wastewater treatment which is called an Anaerobic Digester. According to Montchevre, the digester “uses microscopic organisms to break the treated wastewater into carbon dioxide, methane and cell biomass.” The methane gas that is created is used to produce up to 335 kilowatts of energy an hour, enough that it could power over 200 homes in the area where Montchevre is located! Montchevre uses the energy it creates to power the anaerobic digester and to meet most of the energy needs of the company. Any excess energy produced can then be fed back the grid. Share these amazing facts with the kids in your life!By connecting the dots between what we eat, buy and use, and how these products are made, and by whom, helps us understand better our own carbon footprint, the footprint of the company, and what we need to do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change (without having to give up our goat cheese in the process!)
And FYI, and in case you were wondering, I received no financial compensation for this post, rather a lovelydonation from Montchevre for our 4th Annual Green Screen Film Festival and some cheese for my family to taste as well! I can tell you, not only is the company a “good one” aka sustainability and energy use, but their cheeses are great too!