First Milk has launched its first sustainability report which lays out details of the company's integrated programme to drive economic, environmental and ethical sustainability in their supply chain.
In creating this programme, First Milk is working alongside Oxford-based organisation Food Animal Initiative (FAI) to develop, implement, measure and review a bespoke programme.
This work has already involved sitting down with external and internal stakeholders to prioritise sustainability issues and put a focus on dominant matters; cross-referencing this stakeholder analysis against a science review; and agreeing specific programme areas for the business.
The 5 programme areas that First Milk is concentrating are:
Each programme area is led by a senior manager in the business and long-term goals have also been set for delivery by 2020.
First Milk's CEO Kate Allum commented, "When I get asked why we are concentrating on sustainability when many companies are taking a step back due to the current economic situation, my response is that we're focusing on sustainability because it is an intrinsic part of a healthy business. As the only major dairy company owned exclusively by British farmers, we believe that we are in a unique position to influence the industry and individuals on sustainability.
"It makes sense for our farmers to look at ways to reduce their feed bills and that we investigate and share ways to improve cow and calf health. It makes sense that we ensure our milk price schedules incentivise sustainable production systems. It makes sense that we control and reduce waste, water and energy. And it makes sense that we create products and packaging that support sustainable consumption.
"These are the right things to do from an ethical and environmental standpoint, but most importantly they deliver an economic benefit to our farmers, either directly on-farm or through maximising the returns we can pass back to them.
"The work we have done on sustainability, the activities we are doing and the aspirations we have shared in this report set us on a clear route. We are taking a different path from other companies in the UK dairy industry and what we do on sustainability is a key part of this."