The Dairy Working Group is one of SAI Platform’s largest Working Groups with membership being drawn from Europe, North America and Australasia. Though the Group has many multinational members, it also has smaller dairy organisations along with associations such as the International Dairy Federation as members, making the outputs widely applicable to those working on sustainable agriculture, wherever they are.
A major part of the Dairy Working Groups activities over the recent past is supporting the development and implementation of the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF) and ensuring that the sustainability Principles of SAI Platform are considered and underpin the development of the framework. The Working Group is currently in the process of revising and updating these Principles (as they were first published in 2009) and will be aligning these under the Dairy Sustainability Frameworks 11 key Criteria. The Principles are fundamental to the Framework as they provide clear guidance on implementing sustainable dairy farming at the farm level.
The DSF is a Programme of the Global Dairy Agenda for Action, of which SAI Platform is a founding Signatory and is now a Governor of this globally recognised dairy collaboration.
Recognising the importance of the DSF to the profile of the global dairy sector, the DWG have committed to join the DSF as individual organisations. In addition to this commitment, members of the Working Group are also developing guidance resources to enable other organisations who have not yet initiated their sustainability journey to benefit from the experiences of those who have already started when implementing the DSF criteria. We plan to publish and make freely available this document in the later part of 2014.
This document will be designed in a dynamic manner to be able to encapsulate the outcomes of a number of Implementation pilot programmes where the DWG will be collaborating to implement the DSF in a number of regions using the newly revised Principles of sustainable dairy farming. The 2014 year is the planning phase with the intention of initiating these pilots in early 2015.
The updating of the Principles and Practices with the DSF, is also on the back of a considerable benchmarking exercise undertaken by the Group to appreciate the levels of implementation of the Principles and Practices through existing individual company agreements with their farming suppliers. This is an excellent example of pre competitive collaboration and one which provided substantial evidence necessary for decisions related to the review and updating of the current Principles and Practices.
Working closely with the Global Research Alliance for GHG emissions from Agriculture, the group is developing a research pipeline resource in order to appreciate the current state of GHG mitigation knowledge and potential future resources/knowledge currently under development. This will be important for designing effective on farm sustainability programmes. This document will be published by December 2014. Watch this space!
The Dairy Working Group is also supporting the work of the International Dairy Federation in two key work programmes, water foot printing methodology development and the development of guidelines for the quantification of biodiversity at farm level. The SAI Platform Dairy Working provides the IDF with commercial and practical implementation input to the science, which is fundamental in considering appropriate guidance for the sector.
The Dairy Working Group is an extremely active and progressive Group that focus on seeking opportunities to achieve continuous improvement in sustainability through a wide range of farming scenarios. Please do contact SAI Platform should you wish to know more about joining this dynamic group.