Bord Bia launches National ‘Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme’
In excess of 100 senior representatives from the Irish dairy industry gathered in Dublin today for the launch of Bord Bia’s national ‘Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme’ (SDAS). Delegates heard how the new dairy scheme is fundamental to Bord Bia’s plans to invest almost €3.5million next year in a new targeted marketing campaign, under the ‘Origin Green’ banner, to promote Ireland as a source of world-class sustainably produced food and drink. Today’s launch follows eighteen months of planning by Bord Bia in conjunction with a stakeholder group, comprising of producers, milk processors and regulatory authorities, appointed to develop the scheme on behalf of milk producers nationwide.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD referred to the key role of a sustainable dairy sector in employment, exports and economic recovery: “The Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme is not just about maintaining high standards and improving the environment. It also makes good business sense. It is about driving the development of an industry worth almost €3 billion in exports and maximising the contribution of dramatically expanding dairy production to the Irish economy. This programme positions Irish producers and processors as “best in class”and is a perfect fit with the corporate responsibility strategies that inform procurement policies in multi-national purchasers of Irish dairy products and ingredients across the globe.”
“There is also a perfect synergy between the measures needed to improve environmental performance and those required to reduce input costs and improve profitability at farm level. Ireland is already starting from a position of strength when it comes to high quality and sustainability. The launch of this programme is another key milestone in the Irish dairy story, and capitalises on our natural assets in a way that creates a real point of differentiation with our current and prospective customers.”
In addition to containing the necessary criteria to produce quality milk, the new Scheme has been designed to provide a uniform mechanism of recording and monitoring the sustainability of Irish dairying at farm level. According to Bord Bia, it is the first national dairy scheme of its type anywhere in the world – a rigorous, independently verified and internationally accredited (European Standard for Product Certification – ISO 17065: 2012) programme that not only sets out the requirements for best practice in Irish dairy farms but provides a means of measuring and improving the performance of every participating farmer. Bord Bia’s goal is for all dairy farms in Ireland to be signed up and participating in SDAS by 2016.
Opening the event today, Bord Bia Chairman Michael Carey said “Sustainability continues to grow in importance as a strategic business issue among leading customers for dairy products globally. The majority of leading multinational customers (including Unilever, Nestle, Danone and Kraft) have set out long term-targets to enhance the sustainability of their supply chain. Critically, many are still seeking solutions to help them achieve these targets and increasingly recognise the role that their suppliers will play in their delivery.”
In 2012, the value of Irish dairy exports was almost 30% higher than 2006 levels, valued at more than €2.6bn, with further growth evident in 2013. As a result, the sector accounts for almost 30% of Ireland’s total food and drink exports. Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia commented “Ireland currently has a supply base of almost 18,000 farmers who between them produce more than five billion litres of milk annually. With the ending of dairy quotas in 2015, an increase of 50% is anticipated in milk output by 2020. Such a transformation in output levels presents an unprecedented need for the Irish dairy industry to ensure that it secures a market position in both developed and emerging markets that can optimize returns to the sector. This will require the sector to be able to credibly convince and leverage a wide ranging customer portfolio of the uniqueness of its offer.”
“To this end, the Irish dairy industry has committed to providing an annual fund of €1 million to Bord Bia for a dedicated trade communications programme to promote the credentials of the Irish dairy sector as a source of high quality, sustainably produced dairy products. This will complement a further €2.5 million to be invested by Bord Bia for the Origin Green programme on behalf of the wider food industry”he continued.“Research is at an advanced stage across a range of international and emerging markets to assist in the most efficient and effective allocation of these dairy funded resources over the coming year and beyond.”