Dairy supply chain launches guide for sustainability reporting

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The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy — established under the leadership of America’s dairy producers — announced two new resources to advance the industry’s ability to track, improve and communicate sustainability performance and progress across the supply chain. The resources were developed under the leadership of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Council as part of the dairy industry’s ongoing effort to provide consumers with nutritious, responsibly produced dairy foods and beverages.  

The resources build on the dairy industry’s commitment to transparent and credible sustainability reporting and include:

  • The draft “Stewardship and Sustainability Guide for U.S. Dairy: A voluntary framework for tracking and communicating progress,” which has undergone a thorough review process by representatives from across the dairy industry and is now available for a 60-day open stakeholder consultation period
  • The 2012 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report, the industry’s third annual report dedicated to reporting progress toward its sustainability goals 

Both resources are available online at USDairy.com/SustainabilityReporting.

“Our announcement today showcases another step taken by the dairy industry toward sustainability leadership,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “These tools will provide clear, science-based information to the growing number of consumers who want to understand the environmental impact of the products they buy.”

The Stewardship and Sustainability Guide for U.S. Dairy identifies the most important indicators for assessing dairy sustainability and communicating results. The indicators are based on scientific life cycle assessment studies commissioned by the Innovation Center, and the practical experience of industry members and other experts from nongovernmental, academic and government organizations.

The Guide has been through an extensive and collaborative industrywide process of testing, piloting and refining content and incorporates initial input from dairy producers, cooperatives and dairy processors.

“This Guide allows dairy farmers, like my family, to voluntarily self-assess our environmental footprint,” said Brian Medeiros, co-owner of Medeiros & Son Dairy and pilot tester of the Stewardship and Sustainability Guide. “For our dairy, we see exceptional value in using the Guide in conjunction with tools like Farm Smart, to help pinpoint opportunities for improvement that make good business sense and help us continue to be good stewards of our natural resources.”

A 60-day stakeholder consultation period to obtain feedback that will help ensure the Guide is meaningful, useful and relevant begins on May 15, 2013, and runs through July 14, 2013. Stakeholders are invited to review it online at USDairy.com/SustainabilityGuide.

“The Guide provides dairy operations with tools to continuously improve and communicate results. By establishing common measurements and language, the Guide gives retailers and manufacturers the consistent information they need to track their sustainable sourcing and supply chain management goals,” said Kelly Goodejohn, director, ethical sourcing, Starbucks. Learn more about the industry’s commitment to reporting.

Third Annual Sustainability Report Highlights Industry’s Progress

Funding from government and nongovernmental organizations has increased by nearly 300 percent from 2008 to 2012, supplementing the industry’s own investments in sustainability projects. This progress is published in the 2012 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report, a comprehensive resource describing the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment and leadership of the dairy industry and its partners. The report covers challenges and opportunities facing the dairy industry in the 21st century, outlines environmental priorities and highlights the cow’s contribution to a sustainable food system. Using statistics, infographics and stories, the report provides a snapshot of the dairy industry supply chain from farm to table.

Highlights of the 2012 industrywide efforts featured in the Sustainability Report include:

  • Completion of four years of research and new tools to help the industry measure the environmental, social and economic sustainability from farm to table
  • Sustainability strategies in action across the dairy supply chain
  • The second annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards 

The report also provides updates on the 2008 dairy industry commitment to a Sustainability Roadmap with the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of fluid milk by 25 percent and build business value by at least $238 million by 2020. To learn more about the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, the reduction goal or the projects and tools currently available, visit USDairy.com/Sustainability.


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