First Milk has become the latest processor to announce ambitious sustainability plans, pledging to be net zero by 2040.
The commitments detailed in its First4Milk sustainability plan included reducing the carbon footprint at farm level by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieving net zero in milk transport and processing by 2035.
The co-operative was also aiming to sequester 100,000 tonnes of Co2 per annum on members’ farms by 2025 as well as increasing milk from forage by 10 per cent.
Shelagh Hancock, chief executive, said they had set out a range of commitments in 2019 but they knew they needed to go further faster.
She added dairy farming and manufacturing were seen as carbon-intensive and this was coming under increasing scrutiny.
“These commitments set out the shape of our journey towards net zero, with the ambition of becoming a zero-carbon business as soon as we can or at the latest by 2040. By leading in this area, we will directly benefit our customers, supporting them in de-carbonising their agri-food supply chains.”
Robert Craig, farmer director and vice-chairman, added they were well aware most members were practicing regenerative farming principles and ‘always have done’.
“It is essential as dairy farmers that we take control of the narrative and tell our own story to our consumers with integrity,” he said.
He added through highlighting best practice they believed they could drive further change and being an industry leader would enable them to ‘forge even stronger relationships with our partners and future customers’.