Dairy group updates sustainability indicators

January 12, 2016

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy—established under the leadership of America’s dairy producers and importers—has announced a 60-day stakeholder consultation period for the review of proposed indicators in the Stewardship and Sustainability Guide for U.S. Dairy. Launched in 2013, the Guide provides a voluntary, science-based framework for the dairy value chain to measure and communicate sustainability progress.

The proposed indicators are the result of a multi-year, science-based effort, led by the Innovation Center’s Sustainability Alliance, to identify and define the sustainability indicators that matter most. The new indicators for both farms as well as processors and manufacturers have been through an extensive review process by members of the dairy community, including farm cooperatives, dairy processors, and manufacturers. They are now available for review by other key stakeholders such as dairy retailers, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

Farm indicators address soil health, landscape stewardship, resource recovery, feed management, and water quality and quantity. For crop- and field-specific topic areas, the Innovation Center proposes adopting the metrics developed by Field to Market, the U.S. initiative focused on the sustainability of row crops. The new processor and manufacturer indicators include resource recovery and air emissions.

The Guide’s initial indicators, released in 2013, included greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy intensity, and animal care at the farm level, and GHG emissions, energy intensity, water quality and quantity, labor management, and community contributions for dairy processors and manufacturers.

Comments can be submitted online through March 10, 2016. The new indicators are expected to be released in May 2016.

Stewardship and Sustainability Guide for U.S. Dairy

Press release