Indicator Development

Indicator Development Process 

The Dairy Sustainability Framework is designed to align and connect the dairy sector in its sustainability efforts.  Importantly, another key deliverable of the Framework is to demonstrate the continuous improvement in the sustainable production of milk and dairy products at an aggregate global level.

DSF members are required to set their own targets and KPIs for their projects at a local level.  As a result the DSF is unable to effectively aggregate these for the global picture, due to their wide ranging nature.

Members only need apply these indicators to the Criteria they have prioritized and have, or are establishing, work programs under the specific Criteria. The DSF will also consider improved ways of reporting to ensure efficiency and accuracy.

Indicator Development

To achieve the DSF ambition it has been agreed by both the DSF Advisory Council, and ratified by the Governors of the DSF, that a set of high level indicators are to be developed for each of the DSF Criteria.

The aggregation of each will provide an ‘indication’ of the sector’s continuous improvement.  Though we want to be as robust as possible, the DSF will not be claiming that they are scientifically robust metrics with an exact data ‘measure’, more that they allow us to quantify the trends over time of the sector’s progression.

The vision is that on the DSF website and in our annual reporting we will be able to measure the delta over time of our progression.  The DSF will be absolutely transparent regarding the indicators and what messages can feasibly be drawn from the reports that we provide.

The Governors have also agreed that it would be prudent to introduce the 11 indicators over a period of time, allowing members to assimilate these and introduce them into their existing and new sustainability programs at the appropriate time.

Two have already been introduced (Animal Care and GHG Emissions) and for this year a further five are being established.

The key considerations when trying to demonstrate our continuous improvement at the global level are:

  • Information/data requested needs to be easy to collect, regardless of the geographical location of the member.
  • Information/data requested allows the DSF to track and report, in an aggregate form, the progress of the sector under each of the 11 Sustainability Criteria.
  • Over time by measuring the delta between reporting periods trend lines can be established.
  • Recognizing that some indicators will be proxy’s for the Criteria as there is no other robust form of quantification
  • They permit transparency in calculation to substantiate the reported progress.

The DSF has commissioned the University of Arkansas to facilitate the process of development of five indicators.  The aim is to launch these in October 2017.

To date a completely transparent approach has been undertaken with the DSF membership and the DSF Advisory Council.  The process is now widening out to consider the views and comments of both members and other stakeholders in finalizing the five planned for launch in 2017.