The Dairy Sustainability Consultative Forum was held in Melbourne in May, and it was a great opportunity for the industry to exchange ideas for ways in which we can accelerate progress towards our sustainability targets.
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PROGRESS: The Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Report 2020 outlines progress towards the industry's 2030 goals.

We are committed to helping achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals by 2030. As part of this, all food industries have been asked to focus on big game-changing initiatives that can help to achieve these goals and we included this objective as part of our forum.

We hosted a record turnout of representatives from the dairy supply chain and experts in sustainable food. The involvement of thought leaders across public health, climate, food systems and finance at the forum provided a broad perspective on dairy’s sustainability approach. Some of the topics discussed included reusing plastic waste, abating greenhouse gases and improving dietary patterns.

Australia’s dairy industry is well progressed in implementing a wide range of activities supporting the goals of the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework. At the forum we released the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Report 2020, which outlines progress towards the industry’s 2030 goals. The report showed:

  • an increase in the number of dairy farmers achieving an EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) of at least $1.50 a kilogram milk solids;
  • further falls in routine calving induction;
  • improved water efficiency by dairy companies;
  • significant declines in greenhouse gas emissions by manufacturers; and
  • dairy continues to be recognised as part of a healthy diet in national guidelines and among consumers.

The forum provided an opportunity for us to stand back and take a look at where any changes can be made to help us reach our targets by 2030 or even earlier. We will use the outputs from the forum to inform a review of the commitments, goals, targets and indicators in the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework.

Australia’s dairy farmers play a critical role in driving progress towards our 2030 goals. Collaboration and effective dialogue across the industry will help us to further embed positive changes, as well as set further targets to deliver a sustainable, economically viable industry for years to come.

The latest Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Report includes a scorecard showing progress towards meeting the 2030 farming and manufacturing sustainability goals and targets, which align with commitments across environment, animal welfare, human health and nutrition, people and communities.

This is the dairy industry’s eighth sustainability report and it shows the consistent focus that is being applied across the supply chain to meet our sustainability targets. This is reflected in improved water use efficiency and a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by dairy manufacturing companies.

Sustainability is a key focus of the Australian Dairy Plan. We recognise that it is essential for gaining community trust, for dairy’s long-term viability and for providing nutritious food for a healthier world.

For information on the Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework or to download the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Report 2020 visit:

Terry Richardson, Australian Dairy Farmers president

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