Dairy industry on route to environmental success

Published 9 May 11

A new report published this week (9 May 2011) reveals further reductions in the environmental impact of the dairy industry. The expanded Dairy Roadmap report highlights the key achievements made since the launch of the Milk Roadmap in 2008.

The tremendous efforts made by dairy farmers, processors and retailers have been detailed in this latest Dairy Roadmap report. Key achievements include:

  • 61% of dairy managed farmland has been entered into Environmental Stewardship Schemes which aim to encourage biodiversity (versus a target of 50%)
  • More efficient water usage by dairy farmers through techniques such as re-using water from the milk cooling process, harvesting rainwater or installing bore-holes
  • 96% of dairy farmers have manure management plans to reduce the use of artificial fertilisers
  • Dairy processors have met their target for using 10% recycled plastic into milk bottles
  • Over the last 10 years dairy processors have increased their energy efficiency by more than 27%, resulting in a reduction in annual green house gas emissions equivalent to approximately 270,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide
  • Dairy processors establishing an environmental benchmarking tool which allows them to measure, monitor and compare performance in resource efficiency
  • Most major retailers are working with their dairy farmer suppliers to measure and reduce their carbon footprints
  • A number of retailers are implementing systems for reducing emissions arising from the transportation of milk

Speaking at the launch of the report at the House of Commons, Minister for Agriculture Jim Paice said: "It's not easy being in this industry, but the people who produce, process and sell dairy products are continuing to lead the charge to becoming more sustainable. The Roadmap shows real achievements right across the board, from entering land into environmental stewardship to more efficient use of energy and water. There's more that can be done, but the industry has shown that it's up to the challenge and is providing a great example of the fact that collective action for change is every bit as effective as the heavy hand of regulation."

Mr Tim Bennett, chairman of the Roadmap taskforce said: "The achievements to date as set out in the report demonstrate the responsibility and ambition of our dairy sector.

"Great Britain provides a fantastic landscape to support a thriving dairy industry.  We have been exemplary in tackling the environmental challenges but we are not complacent. We are fully committed to modifying and developing the Dairy Roadmap whilst continuing to deliver high-quality, excellent products enjoyed every day by consumers."


Editor's Notes

About the Dairy Roadmap

The Dairy Roadmap report was drawn up by the Dairy Supply Chain Forum's Sustainable Consumption and Production Taskforce, currently chaired by DairyCo. Membership spans the dairy supply chain including feed and fertiliser manufacturers, farming organisations, processors, retailers, packaging suppliers and consumer organisations.

The Dairy Roadmap 2010 Report details the progress of the dairy supply chain to achieve the ambitious short (2010), medium (2015) and long-term (2020) targets laid out in the Milk Roadmap, launched in May 2008.  

During this reporting period, the dairy supply chain agreed to broaden the scope of the Milk Roadmap to encompass all dairy products. Thus, it has become the Dairy Roadmap.  The initiative demonstrates the collaborative approach of dairy farmers, processors and retailers using tangible environmental targets.

Dairy farmers' targets in summary...

50% of dairy managed farmland entered into Environmental Stewardship Schemes         

5-15% uptake of water use efficiency measures                                                                  

65% dairy farmers actively nutrient planning                                                                        

95% of dairy farmers have a manure management plan                                                     

95% of dairy farmers have Farm Health Plans                                                                     

30 dairy farms piloting on-farm anaerobic digestion   X                                                          

100% of dairy farmers, through DairyCo, supporting research into new technologies        

Processor targets in summary...

A minimum of 10% recycled plastic in milk bottles                                                                   

All processors will meet or beat energy and CO2 reductions of the sector Climate Change Agreement                                                                                                                                  

Dairy UK will operate an environmental benchmarking and best practice performance programme which will publish an annual sustainability report providing evidence of progress towards targets

Retailer targets in summary...

All major multiple retailers should establish positive, direct (where appropriate) relationships with dairy farmers and processors                                                                                                                

All major retailers should recognise the work of the Roadmap and, where possible, incorporate targets within their own Corporate Responsibility targets, covering points such as greenhouse gas emissions, reductions in energy and water use and reduction in waste going to landfill                                

All major retailers should consider the use of technological interventions to reduce CO2 emissions associated with the transport of liquid milk                                                                                   

Retailers should support supply chain delivery of environmental benefits   

Organisations signed up to the Dairy Roadmap are:

Ace UK
The Co-perative
Dairy UK
Tenant Farmers Association

For further information:                   Helen Fina       T:         02476 478696   E:       helen.fina@dairyco.org.uk

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