Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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The milk roadmap

The milk roadmap

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (122/08) issued by The Government News Network on 2 May 2008

By 2020 half of all milk packaging will be made from recycled materials. That was just one of the targets launched today by Defra and the UK dairy industry in a Milk Roadmap that aims to reduce the environmental impacts of producing and consuming liquid milk.

Minister For Food and Farming Jeff Rooker said:

"Dairy products are enjoyed by almost everyone in the UK; there are very few households without a carton of milk in the fridge. The dairy industry has acted responsibly in the past to cut its environmental impact, and this Roadmap provides a major new tool to achieve that. Delivering on the targets contained in the document will be a significant achievement. I welcome the UK dairy industry's collaborative approach in developing this plan of action."

The draft document contains a set of short, medium and long-term actions to improve the environmental performance of the dairy sector. For example, dairy producers have committed to reducing the greenhouse gas balance (including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) from dairy farms by 20-30% between 1990 and 2020. The production sector has also undertaken to boost the number of dairy farmers taking part in environmental stewardship schemes to 65%, nutrient planning to 90% and animal health plans to 95%, enhancing their ecosystems, improving animal welfare and cutting emissions from soil and fertiliser.

Milk processors have committed to meeting or beating the energy and carbon dioxide reductions of the sector Climate Change Agreement, source more renewable energy and cut energy and water use compared to 2007 levels. In addition, they have committed that half of all milk packaging will come from recycled material by 2020.

The Roadmap was drawn up by a working group chaired by Dairy UK, with membership from across the milk supply chain including feed and fertiliser manufacturers, farming organisations, processors, retailers, packaging suppliers and consumers organisations.

Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg said:

"As a forward-thinking and innovative industry, the dairy sector recognises that it has an important role to play in cutting the UK's toll on the environment.

"Dairy companies seized the challenge of the Road Map project from the start and have produced a series of very ambitious environmental targets for the sector. It is a major opportunity for us to demonstrate that we are about more than just 'green wash'.

"I am proud of the measures that our industry has committed itself to, and proud that we are the first sector to draw up one of these ground breaking Road Maps. I believe we are setting an important example to other sectors and to the rest of the world."

Notes for Editors:

Evidence shows that milk and meat account for about 7% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. Provisional figures show UK milk production at 13,661 million litres for 2006/2007 with 6,549 million litres of that destined for the liquid milk market (the remainder going into products such as butter, cheese and yoghurt). The Milk Roadmap work should therefore capture information relating to more than half of the overall production of milk in the UK.

The Roadmap is a living document and will be revisited in September 2008. Parties in the dairy industry have agreed to undertake their own monitoring to ensure that the actions and targets remain meaningful and in sight. Targets are intended to be robust and achievable starting points for the sector to improve its overall environmental footprint.

For more information on the Dairy Supply Chain Forum and the Taskforce and the full text of the Roadmap visit:

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