The UK dairy industry’s “pro-active” attitude to carbon emissions has put it years ahead of government carbon footprint targets, according to the Carbon Trust.
According to the UK-based organisation, the dairy industry’s competitive nature has resulted in a hands-on approach to energy efficiency and cost reduction.
The UK dairy sector has a carbon footprint – including emissions from dairy farms, transport, distribution, and processing – of approximately 15.5m tonnes. UK dairy processors produce around 860,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – accounting for around 5% of the industry total.
The Carbon Trust offers advice, measures and certifies environmental efforts, and develops and deploys low carbon technologies and solutions.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Carbon Trust technology acceleration manager Al-Kazim Govindji praised the environmental efforts of UK dairy sector stakeholders.
“We work in 14 different sectors including dairy. The dairy industry is quite pro-active; it is taking steps to look at innovation. There is a level of pro-activity that we don’t see in other industries,” said Govindji.
“Given their level of forward thinking, it is relatively important to be ‘green’, especially in terms of cost and competition. There is cost pressure from retailers as well as pressure from retailers to hit similar carbon emission targets to their own.”
“The British dairy industry is a few years ahead of the government in terms in implementation,” Govindji added.
The Carbon Trust has been working with British dairy supply chain players for a number of years.
It worked with Dairy UK, which represents the interests of UK dairy processors, two years ago and since then has worked with a number of the UK’s biggest dairy processors under its Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator programme.
The scheme was designed to deliver a reduction in industrial process emissions by accelerating innovation in process control and the uptake of low carbon technologies.
Under the programme, the Carbon Trust worked with industry players, including Robert Wiseman Dairies, Dairy Crest, Arla Foods UK, and Milk Link, to collect data – giving them an idea of which manufacturing processed were “carbon hotspots.”
As a result, the Carbon Trust is able to identify ‘greener’, more efficient dairy-specific innovations.
“The next step is then to deploy these innovations,” said Govindji.
Level playing field
The Carbon Trust also recently began work with the Irish food board, Bord Bia and Irish dairy processor, Glanbia – which was awarded Carbon Trust accreditation.
According to Carbon Trust carbon footprint certification manager, John Kazer, this has created somewhat of a “level playing field across the industry.”
“One benefit of this is that having the same set guidelines and applying them creates somewhat of a level playing field. It’s a good example of bringing different organisations together and providing them with a common platform,” said Kazer.