COP26: UK Dairy Roadmap announces net zero climate ambition

01 November 2021

Cows in a field

As the COP26 climate change conference begins in Glasgow, the UK Dairy Roadmap initiative has today (Monday 1 November) launched its climate ambition for the dairy sector, announcing a historic and ambitious commitment to improving the sustainability of dairy.

The Dairy Roadmap Climate Ambition: Supporting UK Net Zero’ sets out the dairy industry’s support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming, and will set a minimum standard for improvement across the entire industry.

In meeting the challenge of net zero, the climate ambition paper commits the sector to a range of scientifically robust and evidence-led targets and sets out a delivery programme to support their achievement.

What does the Dairy Roadmap climate ambition mean?

Specifically, the climate ambition paper sets plans to:

  • Reach net zero carbon by 2050
  • Maintain positive actions which reduce climate warming caused by methane and nitrous oxides.

The paper also outlines a range of other commitments which include:

  • A commitment to dual accounting and reporting of carbon footprints using both GWP100 and GWP*
  • Calculating an updated and robust overall carbon footprint for UK Dairy GHG footprint for UK dairy
  • Developing best practice and guidance on how to reduce emissions at farm level.

A short film has been created to bring to life the ambitions and efforts of the UK dairy industry’s collaborative drive towards net zero and a sustainable future.

Watch the video here:

What are dairy industry leaders saying?

Paul Flanagan, dairy sector director at AHDB said:

“The strength of the Dairy Roadmap is in the span of people and organisations working towards common goals. Our working groups include farmers, processors, retailers, data companies, academics and trade associations. We’ve already made big strides in reducing the environmental footprint of the entire dairy supply chain and we must not be shy about telling that story. However, the opportunities for more sharing of best practice and innovations are huge, and we can accelerate these through collaborations like the Dairy Roadmap.”

Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK said:

“We’re incredibly proud to be launching our net zero climate ambition today. This work builds upon the many commitments and efforts our processors and farmers have already made, and brings the sector together to move forward as one on this journey. We are dedicated and committed to the sustainability of the sector and in our drive to continually improve. Together we can rise to the challenge, and we’re excited to get going in building the sustainable dairy sector of the future.”

Michael Oakes smiling in front of hay stacks

NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes, pictured above, said:

“UK dairy farmers are already working hard to address the challenge of climate change, and we are now committing to do even more. We are engaged in initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy, such as improving productivity, efficient use of nutrients and incorporating renewable and bioenergy systems on farm via solar panels and anaerobic digesters.

“The Dairy Roadmap climate ambition will encourage dairy producers and processors to work together to achieve a common goal, while demonstrating that we can produce climate-friendly food to our consumers. Our commitment to science-based targets and a recognition of the role of methane is an important step in cementing the sustainability of dairy for the long term.”

More information about the Dairy Roadmap

Founded in 2008, the Dairy Roadmap acts as a cross-industry approach to the setting of targets and driving progress on the environmental ambitions and commitments made by the UK dairy sector. The Roadmap steering group is driven by AHDB, Dairy UK and the NFU, who work across the whole dairy supply chain with all stakeholders to drive the sustainability of the entire UK dairy sector.

The aim of the Dairy Roadmap initiative is simple: to improve the environmental sustainability of the UK dairy sector while ensuring the continued prosperity of the industry, and the provision of safe, affordable, nutritious and sustainable climate-friendly dairy produce for years to come. To deliver this the Roadmap aims to establish a series of industry ambitions, goals and commitments spanning the full spectrum on environmental sustainability.

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