Milk Specialties Global, a nutrition performance manufacturer of dairy ingredients for human and animal nutrition, released its first annual 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Keeping Our Eyes Ahead. This report shares three focuses of the ingredient company’s social and sustainability plans: our purpose, our planet, our people.


Our Purpose

Milk Specialties’ company purpose is “to provided nutritional solutions to the world.” In order to truly achieve this purpose, they recognize the importance in evaluating ways they can improve products and processes to better protect the people, animals, and land that sustain them.

Founded in Illinois in 1944, Milk Specialties Global has always specialized in functional whey products, working in close collaboration with dairies and cheesemakers across North America. After 75 years in business, Milk Specialties has established itself as the world’s largest producer of whey protein isolate and a global market leader in dairy protein ingredients and animal nutritional supplements. To achieve such a tremendous position in the market, Milk Specialties understood that they had to first build the foundation of their business with responsible and dedicated supplier partners. To this day, the company works on a first-name basis with more than 70 local cheese makers and hundreds of dairy farmers, whose hard work is vital to the quality of the human and animal nutrition products.

“Taking action and making a difference begins with strong partnerships at the heart of our business. Advancing on our path toward sustainability calls us to support family farmers who are careful custodians of their land and provide care to their livestock. It leads us to cheese suppliers who strive to meet consumer expectations while helping us increase the transparency of our ingredients,” states David Lenzmeier, chief executive officer.


Our Planet

To enhance the company’s commitment to the environment, Milk Specialties carefully evaluates capital investments that focus on improving processes such as reduction in CO2 emissions, water recycling and increased energy efficiency.

“We are early in our sustainability journey,” adds Lenzmeier. “True to our Midwestern values, we believe in always doing the right thing and are proud of the actions we have already taken to reduce both our dependency on natural resources and our carbon footprint. But we also recognize that our planet is changing, and as a global business leader it’s our responsibility to rise to the occasion with continued, concerted action.”

Top Achievements for Our Planet:

  • Since 2014, proactive improvements to our supply chain and distribution have reduced our CO2 emissions by 7,800 tons annually. For example, by reducing total truck-miles traveled, we cut our freight-related annual CO2 emissions by 110 metric tons compared with our 2013 starting point.
  • We have met rising product demand without increasing energy use by focusing on ways to efficiently expanding production capacity. Since 2014, we have decreased energy intensity (kWh / unit of end product) by 21 percent.
  • Investments in water recycling technology has resulted in annual wastewater savings of 110 million gallons annually– that’s more than a year’s supply of water for 5,300 Wisconsinites!


Our People

Thriving employees are the foundation of the company’s business. Whether it’s on transportation routes, the manufacturing floor or sales trips, Milk Specialties ranks safety as its highest priority. Their award-winning workplace environment begins with the integration of safety training into every aspect of operations through training, outreach, education, and assistance.

With ten facilities and a global employee base, Milk Specialties has a strong commitment to supporting its employees and areas where they have a business presence. In 2014, Milk Specialties initiated a charitable giving program, called Whey Better Communities, with the goal of contributing to the well-being of communities in which their employees live and work. The program empowers employees to nominate local non-profit organizations and programs that strengthen food security, support arts and athletics, increase access to education, and support civic events.

“We are proud to make a positive, lasting impact on the towns where we have a strong presence,” comments Tom Benson, executive vice president. “Our employees and communities are the foundation to our success, and in return, we want to share that success with organizations that mean the most to each community.”

Top Achievements for Our People:

  • Milk Specialties proudly employs over 900 hard-working individuals spread across ten US-based facilities, and a global sales-force.
  • In 2018, our ‘Whey Better Communities’ program provided financial support to 78 employee-nominated charities supporting communities near our facility locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska and California.
  • This past year, we received the ‘Award of Honor for Exceptional Workplace Safety Performance’ by the Minnesota Safety Council.


Our path to sustainability: 2024 commitments                                                                                                            

Milk Specialties Global will keep their eyes forward in belief that the future belongs to innovators focused on responsible, resource-efficient operations. While at the beginning of their sustainability journey, the company sees a promising horizon where they can focus on building values deeper into their business. Doing so will enable them to identify new ways to meet growing demand for high-quality dairy protein ingredients and animal nutritional supplements while implementing practices to lessen the company’s environmental impact and positively impact the communities in which their employees live and work.


Key commitments will guide us over the next five years:

  • Water recycling; We will continue to build on the success of our water-savings initiatives.
  • Employee commitments; Starting in our 2020 fiscal year, every employee will include a sustainability goal in personal goal-setting for the year.
  • Environmental impact; Environmental impacts will become a standard measure of performance when evaluating manufacturing improvements and capital investments, with new systems put in place to measure impact over time.
  • Industry commitments; Going forward from 2019, we will participate in the Dairy Sustainability Alliance™ with a commitment to embody the organization’s support for socially responsible, economically viable, and environmentally sound dairy-food systems.


Read a copy of Milk Specialties Global’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2019.