Climate Smart Dairy Value Chains

The Climate Smart Dairy Value Chains (CSDVC) research group focuses on climate-smart dairy farming. For example a sustainable increase in productivity, the adaptation or mitigation of environmental impacts. And reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as nitrogen (ammonia) and carbon footprint (sum of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxides). The applied research group is researching how the technical and governance aspects of value chain partnerships can contribute to achieving these aims. 

Why a Climate Smart Dairy Value Chains research group? 

  • Promotes climate-smart dairy farming with a sustainable increase in productivity and greenhouse gas reduction. 
  • Focuses on intensive and extensive dairy farming with an emphasis on circular and nature-inclusive agriculture. 
  • Aims to achieve sustainable production growth in Africa with minimum environmental impact and inclusive supply chain relationships. 
  • Integration of technical and socio-economic aspects in the sustainable dairy chain through multi-stakeholder processes and collaboration in living labs. 
  • Facilitates knowledge sharing between African and Dutch dairy farms in education and professional practice. 
  • Embraces internationalisation and capacity building by engaging students, alumni, partners and projects. 

Mission and vision 

The CSDVC research group promotes the integration of education and practice by conducting relevant research and active engagement of students, teachers and business partners. It contributes to responsive, transparent, sustainable dairy farms and dairy chains and encourages dialogue with society. 

Research lines 

This applies to all research lines: “in the Netherlands and to low and middle income countries”: 

  1. Sustainable climate-smart dairy farming and dairy chains. 
  2. Socio-economic benefits and added value of milk production and dairy chain practices. 
  3. Effective strategies for scaling up sustainable practices. 

The first research line deals with technical aspects, while the second and third deal with human choices. 


The CSDVC research group works at both national and international level on various projects concerning the themes of climate-resilient dairy farming, sustainable chain development and farm and capacity building. 

Projects are categorised as follows: 



International (Africa) 

Climate-resilient dairy farming 

Sustainable chain development 

Other (business acquisition) 


Other (capacity building) 


List of projects 


In collaboration with the Masters APCM and IDFC, the research group publishes around 4 to 6 assignments each year. These graduation projects are often directly linked to international projects by or through the research group. Internship and Bachelor graduation reports are more linked to Dutch projects. In addition, there are regular interviews with the lecturer around nitrogen issues as well as the discussion concerning methodology for measuring carbon footprint. 

Key publications 

  • Inaugural address Baars, R.M.T. 2021. [PDF] Climate Smart Dairy Value Chains - the Dutch and International Context. Speech at the official inauguration as professor in Climate Smart Dairy Value Chains. Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. 24 September 2021. Dairy Campus, Leeuwarden.
  • Summary for practice, compilation of 16 graduation assignments international project East Africa Baars, R.M.T. and Verschuur, C.M. (eds.). 2020. [PDF] Inclusive and climate smart business models in Ethiopian and Kenyan dairy value chains. Practice briefs 2019-2020. Velp, the Netherlands: Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences.

All the research group’s publications are available on Greeni, the online library for the green universities of applied sciences. 

About the lecturer 

Robert Baars graduated from Wageningen University in 1988 in Tropical Animal Husbandry, with specialisations in Tropical Animal Husbandry and Tropical Grassland. In 1996, he obtained his PhD with a thesis on the condition and management of rangelands in Zambia's Western Province. Over the past 30 years, he has gained international experience, working and living in Zambia, Costa Rica and Ethiopia for 13 years. He has been working at VHL since 2002, where he started as a lecturer, later becoming a programme coordinator and manager (2010), and eventually as associate lecturer and lecturer (2019). 

In the Climate Smart Dairy Value Chains research group, Robert works on the acquisition and implementation of projects related to dairy farming, sustainable dairy chains, climate mitigation, climate adaptation, food losses and food waste. These projects tie in with education and cover topics such as CO2 equivalents, methane, nitrogen, ammonia, emissions and herb-rich grassland. Lecturer-researchers and project staff can contribute to vision and policy in education and practice through creative processes by, for example, business acquisitions and Living labs. The research group has so far produced 25 scientific publications. 

The research group supports the Dutch government's ambitions in the areas of climate, nature and water, with a focus on the integrated approach to greenhouse gas and ammonia emission reduction. It also remains internationally oriented and strives to connect international and Dutch experiences. 

Knowledge network 

The CSDVC research group is sponsored by Samenwerkingsverband Noord Nederland (SNN) and is part of the Education Programme of the Dairy Campus.  

We join forces with these knowledge partners: 




The CSDVC research group supports and inspires various VHL study programmes: 

Want to know more?

If you have any questions about the research group, please email or call lecturer Robert Baars: 

Dr Robert Baars 
Lecturer Climate Smart Dairy Value Chains 

E-mail: [email protected] 
Telephone: +31 (0)6 53128984 

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