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UK Dairy 2020 strategy is not just another ‘vision document’ - endorsee

By Mark Astley , 19-Jun-2012
Last updated on 19-Jun-2012 at 18:11 GMT

Dairy 2020 – the UK dairy sector’s latest sustainability strategy - is not just another food industry ‘vision document’, but a plan to add value to the whole dairy supply chain, an endorsee of the scheme has claimed.

The document, which was launched at the House of Commons on 16 April 2012, saw more 40 organisations and figures from across the UK dairy supply chain come together in an attempt to create a common vision for a sustainable dairy industry.

Following its launch, DairyReporter.com deputy editor Ben Bouckley heralded it as the latest in a long line of worthy ‘vision documents’ produced by figures from within the dairy industry that may do nothing more than gather dust.

“Another day, another food industry ‘vision document’ complete with funky cartoon cows,” Bouckley wrote.

While accepting that the dairy sector is “visioned out”, Andy Richardson, corporate communications manager at Volac - one of more than 20 dairy supply chain players to have so far endorsed the strategy - has come out in defence of the plan.

Richardson told DairyReporter.com that Dairy 2020 is different from the many similar documents that have preceded it, claiming it offers “something for everyone in the dairy industry.”

Wide stakeholder involvement

“This is not a grumble, I liked the article. I thought it was fair, I think we are visioned out,” said Richardson.

“It’s healthy to be sceptical, but the difference is with our vision document is that it has a wide stakeholder involvement.”

The strategy involves eight key guiding principles – looking forward, innovating and investing, working together, building skills and attracting talent, engaging consumers, minimising environmental impact, stewarding nature and improving animal welfare.

A total of 24 organisations, including Tetra Pak, DairyCo, DairyUK, FirstMilk, Asda and Waitrose, have endorsed the Dairy 2020 project so far – vowing to play their part in delivering the vision and its guiding principles through their own individual company strategies.

“We think it’s different. It has a wide range of stakeholders and because of that it will make a difference and take us forward. The aim is to ensure we do not to duplicate what has already been done,” said Richardson.

“The biggest thing is that it covers all aspects needed for the UK dairy industry to be a sustainable industry.”

“We’re trying to add value to the whole supply chain. Our hope is that we can get commitment from the whole supply chain.”

Key player endorsement

While it has received widespread supply support, the strategy is still awaiting endorsement from several of the biggest players in the UK dairy supply chain.

When pressed on why these firms have not yet lent their names to the scheme, Richardson voiced optimism.

“As far as I’m concerned, it is just a matter of time. We are talking to all of them, and no one is objecting to it,” he said.

“There are quite a lot that have already endorsed it. There’s a wide range but we need more names.”

“All we are asking them to do is to implement these guiding principles into their businesses, which in many cases won’t be difficult as I’d imagine they have probably been implemented already in some way or another,” he concluded.

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