The report highlighted the milestones achieved by the sector over the past decade, including a 24% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with milk production, a 24% improvement in water efficiency and an 18% improvement in energy efficiency.
It also found that 85% of high-density polyethylene milk containers were now recycled and that there was a decrease in the proportion of waste sent to landfill from 35% to only 4%.
Speaking to members of parliament and leading industry figures at the Houses of Parliament today (22 May), Dairy UK chairman Paul Vernon highlighted the progress of the UK dairy sector and plans to ensure the supply chain continued to be environmentally sustainable.
‘Vast strides taken’
“The 10th anniversary report highlights the vast strides that have been taken both on farms and in dairies since the Dairy Roadmap was founded,” said Vernon.
“Together, the British dairy sector has reported a marked improvement in its environmental footprint – not only reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, waste, and other pollutants, but also improving the efficiency with which it consumes water, energy and other resources.”
The Dairy Roadmap recognised there was no endpoint for environmental sustainability. Dairy UK, working alongside the National Farmers Union and the Agriculture, Horticulture & Development Board, said the roadmap would continue to set “ambitious” targets to improve sustainability.
Further increase sustainability
Speaking at the parliamentary launch, minister of state for agriculture, fisheries and food George Eustice said: “The dairy industry has made great strides in reducing its environmental footprint and it is great to see their ongoing progress to further increase the sustainability of this vital industry.
“As the UK’s largest agricultural sector, the industry has a major role to play in delivering our ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan and I look forward to working with Dairy UK to deliver a bright future for our farmers, processors and the environment.”
The UK is currently the third-largest producer of milk in Europe and the tenth-largest globally. The sector employs more than 70,000 people in the UK, represents 15% of the value of agricultural produce in the UK and accounts for an estimated £8.8bn in sales at wholesale.
The full report can be found here.
Meanwhile, exports of cheese from the UK saw a massive year-on-year rise in 2017, as demand from Asia grew.