With the increased knowledge gained from the implementation of programs focused on GHGs, the GDAA recognised the emerging requirement for a more holistic approach to sustainability. In parallel, stakeholders ranging from NGOs to food processors and retailers to governments were taking an interest in the dairy sector’s innovative approach to sustainability and challenged the sector to continue to do more.
Organizations across the dairy sector have been active in developing tools and initiatives aimed at maximizing positive and minimizing negative impacts on the environment, communities, and for consumers. These initiatives have traditionally been developed at regional or local levels and have not benefited from the knowledge gained from similar initiatives across the globe. The GDAA’s original commitment started the ‘sharing journey’ though it was clear more could be done.
Recognizing their leadership responsibility, the governors of the GDAA agreed to undertake a study using an internationally recognized consultancy to identify the most appropriate route forward on a global basis that not only addressed the specific dairy sustainability issues though also captured the high level of existing activity already being implemented by the sector and permitted quantifiable and innovative continuous improvement.
The initial development of the DSF was a global, collaborative project, led by the GDAA over an eighteen-month period.
The DSF study output is the culmination of more than 100 individual interviews, several global meetings/workshops and reviews of more than 80 dairy and 20 non-dairy sustainability initiatives from all over the world.
The resultant DSF provides a resource to participants in the dairy value chain that:
- Takes into account regional/local issues and connects them when defining overarching goals at the global level;
- Provides a format that promotes alignment of the sector’s actions regardless of the level, size or geographic location of the activity;
- Captures and demonstrates in a coordinated and coherent way, the dairy sector’s contribution to addressing sustainability;
- Promotes the sharing of best practices, common language and collaboration to continuously improve sustainability performance;
- Provides the sector with a framework and a common language to monitor and share progression with a focus on continuous improvement in sustainability;
- Provides a reference for in depth communication on actions taken and results obtained by the dairy sector in working towards sustainability.
Model of the DSF
The framework includes a global layer offering an overarching sustainability vision for the global dairy sector. It also includes regional/local layers, enabling a prioritization of the issues relevant to the region, while connecting them at a global level.