The Global Dairy Agenda for Action (GDAA), which provides governance for the global dairy sector’s efforts in addressing its sustainability challenges, has announced the launch of the first global indicators for the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF) for public reporting of the industry’s progress under its 11 sustainability criteria.

Each member of the Framework will be asked to incorporate these indicators alongside their own local measures and will be required to include these results as part of their annual reporting procedure to the DSF.

Donald Moore, GDAA Chairman says: “Key to the reporting of the DSF is the development of these indicators.  They will show a high level indication of progress, allowing the sector to appreciate the ‘delta’ between each subsequent reporting period.

“However, we recognise that there has been a great deal of work already undertaken looking at different methodologies and we have ensured we have this has been considered during this process.

The first two indicators to be launched are for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Animal Care.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Indicator: IDF common carbon footprint approach for the dairy sector

This is based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, involving data collection and modelling of the product. All the GHG emissions are converted to CO2e figures and added together to give a carbon footprint.

DSF members working on projects to reduce GHG emissions will be required to report their current situation with a baseline figure within 12 months. The GHG figures will need to be recalculated and reported at three yearly intervals. The next reporting date will be December 2019.

Animal Care Indicator: Somatic Cell Count (SCC)

The SCC is a main indicator of milk quality. It is measured in the majority of dairying regions globally as farmers are often rewarded financially for a low herd SCC and penalized for high readings. Importantly, it is a measure that can be obtained from the majority of dairying regions globally.

DSF members working on initiatives under the animal care criteria will be requested to provide the last 12 months average SCC and the range from the supply base they are working with. This provides the DSF with the ‘starting point’ for the member. A report is required of the same (average and range) each December.

Dr Tjeerd de Groot, Managing Director, NZO, representing DSF Aggregating member, the Sustainable Dairy Chain (Duurzame Zuivelketen) says: “We strongly supports the global indicators of the DSF to report on the continuous progress of the global dairy sector towards a more sustainable operation.”

Mr Moore concludes: “This commitment to aggregated global reporting will highlight areas of genuine progress and also identify areas of lesser progress, triggering a review as to why, and subsequent strategy development to address this.”

The DSF is committed to introducing the remaining nine indicators (for Water, Waste, Market Development, Product Safety and Quality, Soil and Soil Nutrients, Rural Economies, Working Conditions and Biodiversity) over the next three years with up to five being adopted in the next year based on the advice of the GDAA multi-stakeholder Advisory Council.


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 Editors Notes:

The DSF is the dairy sector’s program to align, connect and demonstrate continuous improvement in sustainability based on 11 key Global Criteria. Each Criteria includes a strategic intent to which members of the Framework must work.

Criteria: Greenhouse Gas Emissions GHG emissions across the full value chain are quantified and reduced through all economically viable mechanisms

Criteria: Animal Care – Dairy Animals are treated with care, and are free from hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain, injury and disease, fear and distress, and are able to engage with relatively normal patterns of animal behaviour