The Sustainable Dairy Partnership unites industry-wide push towards global sustainability

23rd September 2019

Global dairy industry leaders come together with a streamlined approach to sustainability measures in business-to-business transactions

In the dairy industry, milk provides a source of nutrition for 6 billion people world-wide and is a source of income for 1 billion (Source: FAO)

Dairy industry leaders have announced their support for the Sustainable Dairy Partnership (SDP) at the International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit, in Istanbul. Representing approximately 30% of the total global milk volume, farmer cooperatives, processors, buyers and retailers have worked in close collaboration to present this innovative approach to create a more sustainable dairy industry.

The aim of the SDP is to have a lasting impact across the dairy supply chain. It is built on the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF) and its eleven criteria that tackle sustainability issues. In addition, the SDP requires all participating processors to address the prevention of deforestation, the protection of animal welfare and human rights as well as the assurance of compliance with local legislation.

For companies that buy dairy products and want to show how sustainably they are produced, the SDP offers a credible and rational approach. It defines five key stages that help processors assess where they are on their sustainability journey and measure their impact. Each company that produces dairy products prioritises the most important issues relevant to them. Checks are streamlined and a simple one-page report indicates the progress of the processors providing verification status and key performance indicators. 

Jan Kees Vis, Global Director Sustainable Sourcing Development at Unilever and SAI Platform President commented: “The Sustainable Dairy Partnership allows dairy suppliers to report progress on the most relevant issues. It represents a major step for the sector to move from compliance-based reporting to impact-based reporting.”

The SDP comes at a time when the dairy industry is facing multiple challenges in sustainable and responsible sourcing. As a collaborative approach and with the weight of 22 businesses from around the world, the SDP acknowledges the need for industry to take on more responsibility and make further progress on sustainability measures.

For farmers the SDP will help improve farm-level practices and become more sustainable. Miles Hurrell, CEO at Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited comments: “The Sustainable Dairy Partnership will help recognise the hard work that our farmers have put into improving on-farm sustainability.” 

To really improve measures on sustainability priorities, an aligned relationship between dairy buyers and processors is essential. By streamlining this relationship, the SDP recognises and reinforces the DSF as well as robust national and company programmes to improve sustainability performance at farm level.

“This new Sustainable Dairy Partnership is the next evolution of the strong collaboration that we have built with our suppliers to meet consumer expectations. It now helps us to progress from activity-based to results-based management to further enhance our sustainability work.” says Patricia Stroup, Global Vice-President and Head of Procurement, Commodities, Nestlé.

The Sustainable Dairy Partnership was created by members of the SAI Platform Dairy Working Group: Ahold Delhaize, Arla Foods, Barry Callebaut, Bord Bia, The Coca-Cola Company, Dairy Australia, Dairy Farmers of America, Danone, Ferrero, Fonterra, FrieslandCampina, Givaudan, Glanbia Ireland, Innovation Center for US Dairy, Kerry, Land O’Lakes, Mars Wrigley, Molkerei Ammerland, Nestlé, Reckitt Benckiser, Starbucks and Unilever.

The Sustainable Dairy Partnership has been piloted across Europe, the USA, and Australia and is expected to be in full use in the first half of 2020.