The UK dairy processing industry has reduced its carbon emissions by an impressive 28%, or nearly 75,000 tonnes a year, since 2000.

Data collected by Dairy Energy Savings (DES), which runs the dairy sector Climate Change Agreement (CCA), also shows that in the last 12 months alone, UK dairy processors have achieved a significant 2% reduction in carbon emissions and a 2% improvement in energy efficiency.

DES Chairman Gerry Sweeney said: "The CCA has been a great success and these results show yet again that the scheme continues to drive improvement in the dairy sector."

Mr Sweeney continued: "Whichever way you look at it, a 28% reduction in annual emissions is an enormous achievement. These latest figures show that the industry continues to take its environmental responsibilities very seriously and is maintaining momentum in pushing for further improvements."

Commenting on the Government's decision to extend the CCA scheme, Mr Sweeney said: "This is good news for the industry and good news for the environment. Whilst some details of the scheme are still under review, I feel confident that we will see a scheme that can provide a catalyst to further improvements, whilst leaving the industry with the flexibility to invest."

Energy improvements in the processing sector echo the wider commitment and achievement of the dairy industry, which continues to work on sustainability initiatives such as the Dairy Roadmap, Dairy 2020, DEFRA's Green Food Project and the International Dairy Federation's Global Dairy Agenda for Action.


Innovation must lead, but consumer acceptance is key

Speaking from the Chair at the Dairy NPD Conference in Amsterdam today, Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg told delegates that against a background of a positive market, innovation, new product development, and R & D must drive industry growth in the future. However, acceptance of new technologies by consumers was necessary to sustain the industry economically.

"Globally, demand for milk could outstrip supply in the next few years. Milk production is most developed in the West, but demand is growing fastest in the East. Market volatility is likely to escalate and already commodity markets are challenging added value markets in generating the highest returns. All these factors need to be considered," said Begg, "but within this it is vital that innovation is rewarded by the market.

"However, because of the sheer size and importance of our industry, and the fact that our products are consumed in almost every household, we are an industry that is constantly subjected to the most intense scrutiny, whether for our stewardship of the countryside or the products we bring to market.

"This means that we have to work hard, probably more than many other what you might call manufactured food products, at communicating the scientific development of dairy production, and dairy products, to consumers and Governments. "And, as I say to my scientific colleagues all the time, there is sometimes a belief that once the science has been established, that's the end of the story. That's wrong, it's only the beginning."

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