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UK dairy sector Dairy 2020

The UK’s dairy sector has published its strategy for sustainability, Dairy 2020

This sets out:

  • A vision statement that sets out a clear ambition for the industry
  • A framework of guiding principles that assists the industry in delivering an integrated approach to sustainability
  • A list of areas where focus is needed to enable a sustainable dairy industry to thrive in 2020
  • A set of scenarios describing possible futures for the industry in 2020, and key risks and opportunities that the industry may have to operate within in 2020
  • A toolkit that helps organisations in the industry to bring the project outputs to life through their individual company strategies and actions.

Its vision is for “a vibrant UK dairy industry that enables people, environment and business to thrive.” To do this it identifies 8 areas for action, which it labels:

  1. Looking outward
  2. Innovating and investing
  3. Working together
  4. Building skills & attracting talent
  5. Engaging consumers
  6. Minimising environmental impact
  7. Stewarding nature and resources
  8. Improving animal welfare

On the environmental impacts, Its goal is “Achieving commercial success while striving to minimise negative environmental impact.” It will:

  • Work towards zero waste. Develop a waste reduction strategy across the supply chain and incentivise involvement.
  • Develop a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy.
  • Articulate the nutritional value of dairy in relation to the natural resources required for its production, including the environmental footprint of feed inputs.

There do not appear to be any quantifiable targets. On “stewarding nature and natural resources” the industry will:

  • Develop new financing models for investing in biodiversity at the farm level.
  • Invest in evidence-based research on both local and global biodiversity management to better understand their benefit to UK dairy.
  • Develop a biodiversity code of practice for UK dairy farming and build consensus across the supply chain.
  • Create dedicated areas for biodiversity in dairy production systems. Benchmark against best global practice.
  • Build up soil fertility by sustainable means, communicate its importance, share best practice and encourage further research.
  • Protect water resources.
  • Work towards more secure, sustainable (renewable, low-carbon) energy supply for the industry.
  • Maximise resource use efficiency (e.g. nutrient planning, lower-impact feed sources, water efficiency), within the context of an absolute efficiency target. Develop the evidence base to do this.


The vision was developed with the aid of a scenarios exercise that explored the following narratives:

You can download the vision hereFor details see here.

The toolkit with guidance on how to use the scenarios is here.

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