Global dairy industry signs sustainability pledge

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dairy, Carbon dioxide, Greenhouse gas

Dairy industry associations from around the world are coming together to sign a pledge to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change.

This time last year a report commissioned by the European Dairy Association (EDA) was published revealing that greenhouse gases from dairy farming account for 1.2 per cent of global emissions.

A year later and the EDA is one of seven organisations representing the dairy industry who will pledge to reduce these emissions. At the World Dairy Summit in Berlin, Germany, this week the dairy groups will sign a Global Dairy Agenda for Action.

The agreement includes a pledge to reduce carbon emissions but also calls on policy makers to provide a “supportive regulatory policy”​ environment for the industry.

Five point plan

The five point commitment, which covers production from feed, to processing, packaging and distribution of dairy products, is summarised below:

1. Promote the development of a standard methodology framework for assessing the carbon footprint of milk and dairy products based on robust science.

2. Promote adoption of world’s best practices within the global dairy sector and actions that work towards identified environmental goals.

3. Advance the establishment of tools to facilitate measurement and monitoring of emissions both on-farm and in dairy manufacturing.

4. Promote improved farmer understanding of agricultural emissions and opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on farm.

5. Support sharing information and aligning research efforts to develop cost effective mitigation technologies for both on farm and manufacturing applications.

The soon to be signed agreement is designed to be a living document with regular progress reports planned. The first such report will be released two years after the signing and then other reports will be published every biannually after that.

Industry comment

Commenting on the sustainability pledge, Richard Doyle, President of the International Dairy Federation, said: “It makes good sense to reduce green house gas emissions - it saves money and improves efficiency in production.

“This initiative encourages and shares new and innovative technologies and practices for including energy efficiencies on our farms, by food manufacturers and in our warehouses.”

Povl Krogsgaard, deputy managing director at Arla Foods, praised the breadth and global reach of the agreement. He said: “This Agenda for Action represents an unprecedented level of cooperation across national borders and along the dairy supply chain.​”

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