Work on the guide began over a year ago and has involved a wide range of parties from across the dairy industry as well as outside bodies including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI).
The result is a standard lifecycle assessment methodology for the dairy sector that looks at the whole lifecycle of dairy products from the farm to the fork. IDF said it developed the document to provide the industry with a single, consistent approach to lifecycle assessment (LCA).
Explaining the need for such a document, a spokesperson for the IDF told DairyReporter.com: “Following a review of existing carbon footprint projects in the dairy sector, the Action Team on the LCA Guide found a large number of LCA initiatives.
“However, these studies used a variety of methodologies that led to a confusion of data which was not comparable between studies. The methodology set out in the Guide is designed to set the basis for rigorous LCA studies that are both globally comparable and consistent.”
Emission cutting opportunities
As well as providing greater transparency, adoption of the guide is expected to allow farmers and processors to indentify opportunities to reduce carbon emissions.
The IDF said: “For example, a processor will now be able to reliably compare the footprint produced by its different plants in manufacturing the same product.
“The guide will therefore help processors to understand where the main impacts are within the manufacturing process of any given product and to identify what can be improved.”
The IDF is encouraging all dairy stakeholders to take up and promote the new guide. It said that so far it had received very positive feedback from farmers, processors and companies, many of whom said they had been waiting for a common document.
To access the new LCA guide from the IDF please click here.