Multinational cooperative Arla Foods has taken matters into its own hands to find out how the dairy industry could become more sustainable.
Approaching the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) to form a report, the subsequent research and analysis has been released for public scrutiny.
Describing the result of its findings, Céline Charveriat, Executive Director of IEEP, stated that “the science is unequivocal: pressing challenges lie in front of us. The food sector is at the centre of this – and the dairy sector, in particular.”
“Representing more than 12% of the EU’s total agricultural output, dairy production is the Union’s second-biggest agricultural sector. But today, it faces numerous, interlinked challenges across all three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental.”
Not just the facts, but solutions too
Arla’s pragmatic request to find out how to increase sustainability within the dairy industry is born out by the presence of not just facts and figures, but potential solutions to the problem.
IEEP state that increased animal welfare, more incentives for producers adhering to sustainable/ethical standards, further encouragement of young people to join the industry and better labelling on food to help consumers make an informed choice were all relatively straightforward positive actions.
“The dairy sector itself can bring profound and necessary changes but, on their own, these will not be enough: policymakers, civil society, consumers and others will also have to become the drivers of the transition,” said Charveriat.
Reflecting on the contents of the report, Peter Tuborgh, CEO of Arla Foods, said, “It was important to us to have an honest and realistic appraisal of the future of the European dairy industry that recommended practical actions.”
“The report clearly sets out the challenges. But it is also clear how much the dairy sector gives back to Europe and how complex and interlinked sustainability is when looking at the social, economic and environmental pillars.”
Tuborgh states that the company and its “9,900 farmer owners” were invigorated and ready to take heed of the report’s advice. Pledging to build a network of relationships that will allow the changes to happen industrywide, Arla believes a sustainable dairy sector is very near.