Michael Oakes hands over the reins to new UK Dairy Roadmap chair

First published: 19 October 2022

An image of Michael Oakes in front of a hedge

For the past two years, NFU Dairy Board chair Michael Oakes has driven forward environmental ambitions within the dairy sector as chair of the UK Dairy Roadmap. As he hands over the reins to his successor, he reflects on the great strides the initiative has taken towards showcasing sustainability. 

The UK Dairy Roadmap is a cross-industry initiative founded in 2008 that works across the whole dairy supply chain to drive forward the sustainability of the entire UK dairy sector, from farm to fork.

The Roadmap aims 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.

Dairy UK chair and Arla Foods Managing Director Ash Amirahmadi takes over the position as chair from Michael, and expressed his desire to continue “the further acceleration of the great work of the Roadmap.”

Oakes hands over the Roadmap baton

Everyone in the UK dairy sector and across the supply chain knows we have an amazing story to tell. Over the past few years, we have done our best to showcase ongoing environmental efforts and the sector’s ambition to be net zero, alongside the production of sustainable dairy products.”

NFU Dairy Board Chair, Michael Oakes

On stepping down from the position, Michael Oakes said: “Everyone in the UK dairy sector and across the supply chain knows we have an amazing story to tell. Over the past few years, we have done our best to showcase ongoing environmental efforts and the sector’s ambition to be net zero, alongside the production of sustainable dairy products.

“We wish Ash well as he takes over the chair of the Roadmap and know he will continue to highlight the dairy sector’s commitment to sustainability and recognise our ongoing efforts to tackling emissions while producing high quality, British food.”

Driving forward dairy sustainability

It is through the Roadmap initiative and its associated ambitions and targets that the UK dairy sector has become one of the most sustainable in the world.

The Dairy Roadmap continues to drive forward the sustainability of the sector by setting ambitious targets and reporting on progress (e.g. emissions, water use, energy efficiency and waste). In 2021, the UK Dairy Roadmap raised its ambitions for the UK dairy sector as a whole to achieve net zero, in addition to our existing commitments.

Ash to build on solid foundations

Mr Amirahmadi said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be taking on this additional role as chair of the UK Dairy Roadmap – this initiative is fundamental for the sector in driving forward environmental improvements and bringing industry together to move forward as one.

“I will be encouraging everyone to understand the benefits to their businesses of fully embracing this initiative and its aims.

“It’s essential that we build our evidence base and make the case for dairy. This is what our consumers and policy makers need from us, and we need to be there with the credentials and the reassurance they need that dairy is sustainable.

“I want to extend my thanks to Michael Oakes for his excellent chairmanship.

“During his chairmanship, Michael raised our collective ambition for the Roadmap and showcased the ownership and leadership that UK dairy takes in the environmental space. He has laid solid foundations for me to build on as I take over. I’m delighted that Michael will remain a key member of the Roadmap Steering Group.”

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