World Milk Day and 10 years of the Australian Dairy Sustainability Framework

Today is World Milk Day.

This year’s theme puts a spotlight on sustainability, focusing on the dairy industry’s work to accelerate climate action and its global commitment to achieve Dairy Net Zero, and educate students on the health and nutritional benefits of dairy.

On this same day, the Australian dairy is also celebrating 10 years of the Australian Dairy Sustainability Framework, the first whole industry framework for the agriculture sector worldwide.

For 10 years the Australian Dairy Sustainability Framework has been at the forefront of sustainable food production, globally,  committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% across both farm and manufacturing by 2030, relative to 2015 baseline, and supporting national and global commitments to net zero emissions.

What have we achieved?

  • Dairy manufacturing businesses have generated $15.7 billion in sales and support more than 70,000 FTE jobs
  • 100% of dairy farmers support compliance with animal welfare standards – most go well beyond this, and
  • 94% of dairy farmers are implementing some measures to reduce emissions on farm.

For dairy manufacturers, greenhouse house gas (GHG) emissions intensity is measured by tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2~e) per ML of milk processed. Dairy processing contributes to scope 1 (direct) and scope 2 (indirect) GHG emissions through energy and fuel consumption, particularly from fossil fuels.

The new 2020/21 Dairy Industry Environmental Sustainability Scorecard outlines progress from dairy processors towards the 2030 targets, including a 25.5% reduction in dairy manufacturers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity since 2010/11, equating to a 27% reduction in absolute GHG emissions.

Dairy manufacturers continually strengthen their understanding and commitment to sustainability through more targeted goals and transition plans. For example:

  • A2 has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, introducing an emission reduction program in 2021.
  • Gippsland based dairy processor Burra Foods has pledged a 30% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030, entering into a large-scale Renewable Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Melbourne-based energy retailer Flow Power.
  • Bega aims to decrease scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions by 40% by 2030 and, emission intensity by 50% per litre or per tonne produced (vs 2021 baseline), and reach net zero by 2050 through their sustainable farms and factories programs and have recently released ‘Bega’s Planet Pledge’ to create great food for the greater good while respecting our planet.
  • Fonterra Australia has committed to reducing their manufacturing and transport emissions by 30% by 2030 (vs 2018 baseline) and achieve net zero on all gases by 2050, through investment in innovation and infrastructure to remove GHG emissions from their manufacturing sites and through their partnership with Sea Forest, Tasmania in seaweed as a supplement to cows’ feed to reduce greenhouse gasses.
  • Saputo Dairy Australia is focused on reducing CO2 intensity of their operations by 20% and reduce energy intensity of their operations by 10%, by 2025, with a large-scale renewable power purchasing agreement entered into which will enable 46% of their electricity consumption in Australia to be offset with renewable energy.

Sustainability is and will continue to be a fundamental commitment in both the ADPF strategic plan, and the Australian Dairy Plan.

Please read the Australian Dairy Sustainability Framework 10-year anniversary report here:

It provides insight into the evolving dairy landscape and guides how to respond to climate change.