Are there different categories of membership?

Yes – It is important that the dairy sector is recognized for its diversity and the wide range of organizations operating across the different levels of the value chain and as such we cannot expect the same outcomes from every organization/grouping that want to join us in this ambitious initiative. We have therefore established three categories of membership of the DSF:

Full Implementing Members: Those who can realistically endorse the Criteria and Strategic Intents and implement initiatives to address these. E.g. farming groups, dairy manufacturers…

Affiliate Members: Those close to or part of the sector who are able to endorse the Sustainability Criteria and Strategic intents, though not in a position to directly implement sustainability initiatives address the Criteria for the dairy sector. E.g. research organizations.

Aggregators: The new aggregation approach allows countries, regions or even small groupings of dairy sector organizations who are collaborating on sustainability programs to register and report through one coordinating organisation.

Do I need to alter any programs that I already have in place?

No – If sustainability programs are appropriate at the local level, the DSF is not seeking alteration of these. Importantly though, new and existing initiatives need to follow the management process of ‘Plan, Do, Check, Amend’, and will probably alter as a result.

For some, if there is no performance measurement process in place, the DSF encourages this to be established to enable us to capture the progress being made.

Do I need to implement initiatives in ALL the 11 categories?

No, the categories approached can vary depending on what the priority areas are for each Implementation Member. However, all the categories should ideally be evaluated and tackled over time.

Does it cost to join?

No, currently joining to the DSF does not incur any cost. The GDAA Governors are investigating how they can continue to ensure that costs are not a barrier to being part of this exciting initiative going forward.

Does it matter at what level my programs are, i.e. national or within company programs?

Absolutely not! The beauty of a Framework approach is that it accommodates each and every Sustainability initiative/program regardless of its size, how it is implemented or where it is along the sustainability journey, to achieve the desired aligned outcomes.

How can I engage with the DSF and where can I find the information?

This website is your first point of call. The DSF welcomes those working in the dairy value chain who wants to either share existing initiatives or establish new sustainability programs that will align with the global vision and key categories.

How did it originate?

The DSF was the result of over 18 months of consultation and research undertaken by the GDAA in collaboration with a wide range of industry stakeholders. The objective in creating the DSF was to bring greater coherence and offer guidance on individual and collaborative action while allowing for continued innovation in approaches to address sustainability.

How is the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF) different to other sustainability initiatives?

The DSF is a tool that allows the dairy sector to connect at a global level and align their sustainability efforts working towards a focused and common sustainability agenda.

It is very different to a standard that requires certain fixed criteria to be achieved. The DSF allows individual groups, regions or organizations to develop different initiatives and programs on a local basis that work towards addressing the Criteria and Strategic Intents of the framework. This approach also allows the dairy sector to develop initiatives that accommodate wherever they are on their sustainability journey. It is recognized that global dairy supply chains are at different developmental stages of their sustainability programs, and as such the framework is not there to judge or compare… It purely seeks to demonstrate continuous improvement via a range of shared activities that are captured and shared via the DSF.

How long does membership last?

The membership will be reviewed on an annual basis. In case of breach or other material cause, the agreement may be terminated by the DSF. Should a member with to voluntarily terminate its membership for any reason, this can be done at any time by writing to the GDAA Chairman, providing a minimum of 30 days notice.

How was the DSF developed?

Using a highly collaborative approach, independent consultancy think-tank SustainAbility led a globally focused independent project to review how the industry could effectively address the sustainability challenge. The outputs of the project were a recommendation that the sector should develop a framework for sustainability that aligned global activity while capturing existing initiatives, cater for large or small approaches on a global or regional basis and emphasize the requirement for continuous improvement.

How will the DSF contribute to a more sustainable dairy sector?

The DSF is a resource that creates the opportunity to collaborate and align global sustainability efforts under one ‘umbrella’ thus enabling and demonstrating a coordinated approach at both a local and global level.

Is the framework ready to be used regardless of local/national priorities?

Yes. The process of implementation is straightforward. Participants endorse the vision and then prioritize the eleven global issues to represent the priorities for their scope of operations. Once this has been completed, participants are encouraged to load their initiatives into the framework to demonstrate plans/progress share with other interested parties.

What are my commitments if I do sign up?

The key commitments of Implementation Members are: Endorsing the 11 key sustainability criteria and Strategic Intents

  • Undertaking a prioritization of sustainability issues at a more local level (the prioritization process will support your key areas of focus locally)
  • Implementing initiatives to address the priorities
  • Delivery of the Plan, Do, Check and Adjust actions on existing programs to ensure they are continually evolving and addressing the key areas of interest
  • Provision of annual reporting and updating of shared initiatives with the DSF

What do I need to do to report and how often?

Initially we are only asking Full Implementing Members to provide information on programs that have already been shared with the DSF so that we can capture this information for cataloguing and progress measurement.

It is envisaged that over time, through an iterative process with the sector, we will identify some key indicators against which progress can be quantified to demonstrate the sector’s continuous improvement.

It is important to note that these indicators will be developed through a transparent approach to ensure we are reporting the correct information that is also providing a meaningful output for the global dairy industry.

What does signing up actually mean?

By ‘signing up’, you are agreeing to collaborate with the global dairy sector in addressing the key sustainability criteria identified (and others if pertinent on a local basis).

The DSF wants to ensure that those who join are genuinely committed to helping us demonstrate dairy’s positive contribution to the sustainability challenge and, importantly, quantify our continuous improvement.

What is going to be reported from the DSF?

Information provided by the membership will be integrated in a database managed by the DSF and will then be used to report in an aggregated form to demonstrate the progress of the Framework.

The DSF would also like to profile individual initiatives at various opportunities. Permission from the initiative ‘owner’ will always be sought prior to public release.

What is the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF)?

The DSF resulted from an initiative undertaken by the dairy sector to align globally on key sustainability activities in a coherent way. It also provides the ability for organizations to map and connect existing activities with like-minded organizations allowing for cross-fertilization of ideas. And it provides a mechanism to reveal opportunities for the development and prioritization of activities to improve performance.

Who Governs the DSF? What is my link to them?

As a program of the GDAA, the DSF is governed by the GDAA Governance Group.

Members of the DSF will be connected to the GDAA Governance Group through the DSF Secretariat.