Representatives of the world’s dairy industries are set to sign a global declaration on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from milk production and processing, which includes an aim to achieve reductions from changes to feed manufacture and cow feeding techniques.

The International Dairy Federation says the declaration, presented to the World Dairy Summit being held in Berlin, Germany, is called a Global Dairy Agenda for Action.

Signed by seven organisations on behalf of dairy associations and companies worldwide, it takes the form of an industry pledge to reduce carbon emissions against global warming.  The declaration also seeks the support of policy makers to provide a supportive regulatory policy environment that recognises the important economic, social and environmental contributions of the dairy industry.

“This Agenda for Action represents an unprecedented level of cooperation across national borders and along the dairy supply chain. The global dairy community and its partners have pooled resources, knowledge and projects to achieve a more sustainable future,” said Povl Krogsgaard, deputy managing director, Arla Foods, on behalf of Global Dairy Platform.

“From production of feed for dairy cows, to processing, packaging and distribution of milk, many elements contribute to the dairy industry’s commitment to reducing Greenhouse Gases (GHG),” said Richard Doyle, president of the International Dairy Federation.

“It makes good sense to reduce GHG 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.”

To facilitate the industry’s efforts to reduce GHG and promote the long-term sustainable supply of milk and dairy products, the Global Dairy Agenda for Action is a five point commitment to:

  • Promote the development of a standard methodology framework for assessing the carbon footprint of milk and dairy products based on robust science
  • Promote adoption of world’s best practices within the global dairy sector and actions that:
    lead to the reduction of global GHG from dairy production on a per unit of production basis, promote the use of technologies and methods that improve the processing and distribution efficiency of dairy products, optimise economic, environmental and social outcomes for global dairy stakeholders, recognise different levels of development and local conditions, build on existing frameworks and knowledge, including for scientific advancement and technology transfer, promote decision making based on robust science, and complement initiatives in other areas of sustainability.
  • Advance the establishment of tools to facilitate measurement and monitoring of emissions both on-farm and in dairy manufacturing
  • Promote improved farmer understanding of agricultural emissions and opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on farm
  • Support sharing information and aligning research efforts to develop cost effective mitigation technologies for both on-farm and manufacturing applications

The declaration is being signed by Eastern and Southern African Dairy Association, European Dairy Association, Pan-American Dairy Federation, Global Dairy Platform, International Dairy Federation, International Federation of Agriculture Producers and Sustainable Agricultural Initiative Platform.