How is Australia Developing Sustainable Dairy Production?

ANALYSIS - Consumers and the community want to know more about the products that agriculture and dairy farmers are producing.
calendar icon 30 June 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

According to Helen Dornom, manager of sustainability at Dairy Australia they want to know how the products are produced, how people in the supply chain are treated, how the animals are treated and how the environmental impact is managed to ensure future access to natural resources.

To achieve this she told the Dairy UK seminar in London that there is a need for a unifying fact based story first, before the industry can add the emotion.

“It is not just about the food, it is about how we produce it,” she said.

"The more people trust companies, the more they will buy"

Ms Dornom told the seminar, titled How Good? How Green? Does Dairy Deliver?, that now quality and safety of food products in taken for granted but consumers now want to know how the product is produced and there is a general need for transparency in the sector.

She said that to give consumers confidence in dairy products the industry had developed the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainable Framework, which is based on building trust among consumers.

“The more people trust companies, the more they will buy,” she said.

Ms Dornom said that to build the Australian industry brand, the sector had to develop a programme based on a series of issues showing the farming and processing sectors as clean and green, responsible land stewards –and demonstrating animal care through health and welfare.

The industry had to demonstrate food safety and quality show it to be contaminant free and that the products are both healthy and nutritious products.

The industry also had to demonstrate that it is a good corporate citizen developing skills of employees and attracting a strong workforce.

It had to incorporate new technologies and innovations and show that it is doing more with less and contributing to rural and regional Australia.

Ms Dornom said that to achieve the sustainable goal for dairy production politicians and investors had to have confidence in the way the sector operates.

Ms Dornom said that the industry needs to achieve strong sustainability credentials tthrough ethical behaviour, transparency and accountability, appreciation of stakeholder interests showing a competitive neutralityand by not providing a competitive advantage.

She said that collective action delivers mutual benefit.

She said that to achieve a sustainable industry it is necessary to have strong governance and to help achieve this Dairy Australia had fostered links with non-governmental organisations, welfare groups and other organisations within a forum designed to build and strengthen the sustainability framework.

However she said that the Australian industry did not want “sustainability to languish in the environmental space”.

She said that the sector will have an environmental impact because livestock drink water and they create waste.

The Sustainability Framework has 11 targets with 41 measures designed deliver sustainably produced dairy products.

The 11 targets based on enhancing livelihoods, improving wellbeing and reducing environmental impact, include:

  • Increase the future competitiveness and profitability of the Australian dairy industry
  • Increase resilience and prosperity of dairy communities
  • Provide a safe work environment for all dairy workers
  • Attract, develop and retain a skilled and motivated dairy workforce
  • All dairy products and ingredients sold are safe
  • Dairy contributes to improved health outcomes for Australian communities
  • Provide best care of all animals
  • Improve nutrient, land and water management
  • Reduce the consumptive water intensity of dairy manufacturers by 20 per cent
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 30 per cent
  • Reduce waste to landfill by 40 per cent

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