UK – Incentivising farmers to produce milk by quality not volume and reducing its Lake District site’s carbon footprint are two achievements in First Milk’s sustainability review.
The farmer owned cooperative launched its sustainability programme in late 2012, along with long term goals to come to fruition in 2020. The programme is based on the 3Es - Economics, Ethics and Environment.
First Milk has linked milk quality payments for butterfat and protein with the fact that its customers are paid some of the highest UK prices.
By switching from traditional boilers to clean burn gas technology, the carbon footprint of the Lake District site dropped 35 per cent.
A conversion to membrane technology at its Haverfordwest creamery cut the site mains water reliance by 50 per cent.
Further work with Natural Resources Wales on reducing effluent discharge levels by reducing farm run-off.
Other progress managed in 2013, the first full year of the programme, includes work with the Edinburgh University Vet School to improve herd management and reduce mastitis.
Participating farmers were rewarded with bonuses and milk quality lift, according to First Milk’s chief executive Kate Allum.
“At First Milk, our aim is to provide safe, responsibly produced, nutritious foods,” said Mrs Allum.
“We must do this by providing sustainable margins for our farmer owners, while protecting natural resources for future generations.”
“We look to constantly improve the economic, environmental and ethical sustainability of our supply chain – learning from best practice in dairy around the world, and in other industries.
“As a farmer owned business, we naturally look right along the supply chain from farm inputs right through to the packaging and foods that we deliver to consumers,” said Mrs Allum. “We will continue working alongside our farmers and our partners in 2014 to increase the pace and breadth of our Sustainability activities.”
The review will judge achievements across the five part framework of food for the future; cow and calf, wheels, yields and deals; reduce reuse recycle and feed for the future.
TheCattleSite News Desk