The government's push to cut the carbon footprint of the UK dairy industry received a boost last month as Tesco, Arla Foods, and Dairy UK, the industry's trade association, all announced plans to meet environmental targets set out in the Milk Roadmap.
All Tesco's milk will now display its carbon footprint on labels, as part of the plan to label all Tesco products. Members of Arla Foods Milk Partnership (AFMP) are set to meet the targets for 2015 set by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the Milk Roadmap three years early. Many have already met the 2010 targets. Dairy UK and the Carbon Trust are to produce an industry-wide carbon footprinting guide to give farmers and processors one set of guidelines.
DEFRA launched its Milk Roadmap in May 2008, setting out voluntary targets for farmers, processors and retailers, with three key milestones on the way - 2010, 2015 and 2020. A progress update out last month showed that processors and farmers were on track to meet the 2010 targets, with some dairy firms also likely to exceed targets for incorporating recycled plastic into milk bottles and for cutting energy use.
Tesco's move to carbon footprint all of its milk comes on the back of new customer research, which found that 50% of customers now understood the meaning of carbon footprint.
One of the major contributors to the carbon footprint of dairy products is methane emissions from cows. Tesco said it was working to reduce these emissions through the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group. Tesco has pledged to carbon footprint 500 products by the end of the year.
Dairy UK and the Carbon Trust aim to make the new carbon footprinting guidelines the standard for the dairy sector, allowing true comparisons between businesses and winning retailers' confidence, said Fergus McReynolds, Dairy UK environmental manager.