Delivering dairy sustainably

With the theme of, “The Future is Dairy,” there was much to discuss at the European Dairy Association in Brussels, Belgium 7-9 November. Heads of several companies, ranging from FrieslandCampina to Lactalis and Arla Foods, detailed their moves to feed the planet while containing emissions from livestock and fending off those who decry the dairy sector as a polluting process.

Giuseppe Ambrosi, EDA president, opened the proceedings, noting, “We were and we are standing fully aligned behind the ambitions and the objectives of the EU’s Green Deal agenda. We did not see the EU Commission acting on the basis of some demands for the law making process: a science-based, impact assessed approach and a certain level of stakeholder involvement.” He noted that while the EU even publicised its launch of agricultural policies with a video of milk processing, the dairy industry has been asked to play less than an active part in the agenda, which “intends nothing less than to completely change the way we operate our businesses.”

He called on the assembled to “make dairy heard in the political space in Brussels from the very beginning of the next legislative term in July 2024. We simply cannot afford five more years in defence. When I say we, I mean the European lactosphére together with all those who want to reach the 2050 ambitions for our continent.”

As Jan Derck Van Karnebeek, CEO of FrieslandCampina noted, “The way we do dairy in Europe, we can do it right, and we should fight and stand for it.” He further opined that the ways farmers operate is not always understood by politicians and government. “They need to be viable from the farmers’ perspective. Biodiversity and animal welfare are complex to navigate, but farmers have a vital role to play here. Sustainability is about doing the right thing by the planet, but it needs to be enabled by economics,” he added. At FrieslandCampina, “We reward for environmentalism and sustainable outputs are a structurally important part of the journey. I’m a bit of an optimist. Customers are awake to fact that the environmental impact has financial value, and I think that’s a good thing.”

The full story is available in the December issue of Dairy Industries International. Also, keep an eye out for exciting Dairy Industries Expo news, coming very soon!

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