Archive: Environmental report demonstrates British dairy industry is a global leader

Published 25 June 13

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The British dairy industry has issued a Dairy Roadmap report today (25 June 2013) demonstrating that they are a global leader in terms of environmental sustainability.

Nowhere else in the world has the whole dairy supply chain - farmers, food manufacturers and retailers - come together to agree such a broad programme with hard, time-bound environmental sustainability targets (seenotes to editorsbelow for a sample of targets).

The Report can be viewed on a new website alongside a selection of video case studies, plus further detail on what farmers, dairy manufacturers and retailers are doing to make the dairy supply chain more environmentally sustainable.

Some examples of activities that have taken place: 

  • A Somerset farmer has installed ground-mounted solar panels which supplies 50% of power for his dairy unit, three buildings and neighbouring poultry unit
  • Over the last 5 years, one plastic milk bottle manufacturer has developed a bottle that is not only 20% lighter, but will incorporate 30% recycled materials by 2014
  • A group of Scottish farmers working with Nestlé have reduced their carbon footprint and water usage as well as investing in biodiversity.
  • A creamery in Cornwall has reduced its carbon footprint by 20,000 tonnes per year by installing a biomass boiler system

Kate Allum, chair of the Dairy Roadmap commented:

"Looking internationally, we know that there are individual cases of companies around the world undertaking supply chain projects, or focusing on the environmental performance of their sites. However, in Britain we recognised that in order to achieve real change we need the whole dairy supply chain to work together from farmers through to retailers.

"As an industry we started in 2008 as the Milk Roadmap focusing solely on the liquid milk sector. A further report was published in 2009 before expanding the Roadmap to cover total dairy production in 2011 and now through this 2013 report.

"With each report, the ambition and reach of the industry has grown and this is reflected in the way the Dairy Roadmap has developed.

"In addition to the environmental progress we have made, people who consume British dairy products have added reassurance from the Red Tractor scheme which certifies that food has been produced to independently inspected standards right along the food chain - from farms to manufacturing facilities."

David Heath CBE MP, minister of state for Agriculture and Food added,

"Our dairy industry works better when it works together and we should be proud of this new ambitious Dairy Roadmap. The smartest sectors know they must minimise their impact on the environment to maximise future profits.

"As we can see from this Report, the British dairy industry is working responsibly to mitigate its environmental impact and providing for a more sustainable future.

"This Dairy Roadmap report and supporting case studies provide a fantastic platform for British dairy industry to not only make a case to customers and consumers to sell more British dairy produce in this country, but also become serious players in the global marketplace.

"Defra will provide whatever assistance, support and facilitation it can for this key industry to sell more British products at home and abroad."

Along with the new website, a new twitter address @dairyroadmap has been launched which people can follow to get news updates, further environmental news from the British dairy industry and a British perspective on great environmental practices from around the world.


Notes to editors:

Below is a selection of the targets we are on track to deliver againstby 2015:


Dairy Farmers:


  • 70% of farmers are using water efficiency measures
  • 10 - 15% of farmers are investigating and/or implementing renewable energy options
  • 65% of dairy managed farmland into Environmental Stewardship Schemes
  • Dairy farmers calculating carbon footprints / implementing carbon reduction plans


Dairy Manufacturers:


  • All major dairy companies implementing carbon management plans
  • Sending zero ex-factory waste to landfill for all large processing sites
  • 3 Anaerobic Digestion plants at Dairy Roadmap sites
  • 30% recycled materials in plastic milk bottles


Over the next 7 years (by 2020), we plan to deliver …


Dairy Farmers:


  • 20 - 30% reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions from dairy farms
  • 70% of non-natural waste is recycled or recovered as standard practice
  • 40% of energy used on dairy farms is from renewable sources


Dairy Manufacturers:


  • 15% improvement in energy efficiency
  • 30% relative reduction of water brought onto site 

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