Sustainable development in the Australian dairy industry

by The Australian dairy industry

(Business)

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Aligning the Australian dairy industry’s national sustainability framework with the SDGs

Project implemented: 2017/18

Project goal

To align the Australian dairy industry's existing sustainability framework with the SDGs

delivering on

why is this project important?

The Australian dairy industry directly employs 42,000 people and is Australia’s third largest rural industry. A sustainable approach will allow the industry to meet the demand for dairy from the growing middle classes while maintaining the sector’s clean, green image. Aligning with the SDGs will ensure the future viability of the industry in line with global expectations.

Key steps to make it happen

1National consultation

Engaged farmers, manufacturers, customers, retailers, government, regulators, NGOs and interest groups.

2Governance

Development materials and tools to guide discussion and capture feedback for the Framework; established governance systems.

3A national strategy

Created a national strategic framework to drive sustainable practices and a common language around global sustainability.

4SDG alignment

Mapped the dairy industry sustainability targets to the SDGs.

5Review targets

Refreshing dairy targets and indicators in line with SDG priorities.

6Reporting progress

Regular reporting via a Framework report and industry scorecards

impact to date

5789
dairy farms covered by the sustainability promise
75%
of farms recycling water
21.7%
reduction in GHG emission

The Australian dairy industry launched a whole-of-industry blueprint for sustainable development – the first of its kind in agriculture worldwide – two years before the UN Sustainable Development Goals were released.

The material sustainability risks and opportunities demanded a proactive approach. The response from the Australian dairy industry’s governing body, the Australian Dairy Industry Council, is the Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework, a guide to continuous improvement across the supply chain.

During 2017/18, the 2020 targets in this Framework are being reviewed against the 2030 goals, targets, indicators and timeline of the SDGs.

As a result, the businesses in the dairy value chain covered by the Framework – around 5790 dairy farmers and all dairy processors – are becoming aware of the SDGs and collectively contributing to these global priorities.

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