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The UK Dairy Roadmap is a pioneering cross-industry initiative which brings the entire dairy community together as part of a commitment to continuously improve the sustainability of the sector.


The UK Dairy Roadmap sets ambitious targets for environmental improvements within the industry, from emissions to water use, to energy efficiency, biodiversity and waste – and many others.

First launched in 2008 under the umbrella of the Dairy Roadmap, the industry’s farmers and processors have already reduced their energy and water usage, as well as the waste that goes to landfill. They have also worked hard to address biodiversity and improve air quality.

In 2021 the UK Dairy Roadmap raised its ambitions for the UK dairy sector even further, publishing its climate ambition paper, outlining its commitment to reach Net Zero by 2050.

It is through the Roadmap and its ambitions and targets that the UK dairy sector has become one of the most sustainable in the world, and provides a blueprint of best practice for other industries across the globe.

All food production has an environmental cost but we are committed to continuously improving our environmental practices to reach net zero.

How We Measure Success

Through regular reporting on our progress, the Roadmap ensures a consistent benchmark of activity across the dairy community and holds the supply chain accountable to its environmental promises.

In fact, since its launch in 2008, the Dairy Roadmap has delivered:

  • 24% cut in the greenhouse gas emissions associated with milk production;
  • 18% improvement in energy efficiency;
  • 24% increase in water efficiency;
  • A reduction in the waste sent to landfill to just 4%;
  • Increased recycling rates of plastic milk bottles to 85%.

Through Dairy UK, dairy processors regularly report on environmental and sustainability metrics, through our Benchmarking Report. The report takes a look at everything from water and energy use, to industrial waste and efficiencies, and gives an annual snapshot of progress against the previous year, demonstrating continual improvement.

Read the results from our last benchmarking survey here

More Than Metrics

Setting targets and measuring success is an important part of what the Roadmap does, but many often forget the role of nutrition and health when talking about sustainability. Because let’s not forget, dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are packed with vital vitamins and minerals such as calcium, high quality protein, B vitamins, zinc, potassium, phosphorous and more.

It is for this reason dairy products are widely recognised as providing rich nutrition, and are recommended within a healthy, affordable and balanced diet to billions of people globally. Dairy products help feed and nourish entire nations, including here in the UK, and so they are essential to protecting food security and in creating a sustainable food system.

Collaborative Approach

The Dairy Roadmap steering group is led by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Dairy UK and the National Farmers Union (NFU) and enjoys support from DEFRA (The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

By taking a genuinely collaborative approach and by bringing stakeholders from the entire dairy supply chain together, the dairy sector is able to collectively commit to improving its environmental sustainability. This collaborative approach means that the industry moves together as one, leaving no one behind – and protects the provision of safe, affordable, nutritious and sustainable climate-friendly dairy produce.