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First Milk launches responsible sourcing programme - First4Milk


First Milk has today announced the launch of its new responsible sourcing programme, First4Milk. This is designed to promote the important positive role that dairy farming can have in delivering environmental and social benefits to the world.

First4Milk has been developed as a natural extension of the work that First Milk has been doing for a number of years with major customers. It includes three key themes – People, Animals and Earth – and will focus on improving performance within these areas using technology to collect, analyse and use data, preventing duplication of effort.

The initiative includes the development of a new smartphone app, which has been created in partnership with Kingshay. The First4Milk app aggregates numerous feeds of key data that already exist and enables members to conveniently view data and reports on their smart-phones, giving them real time information to help them manage their farms and deliver First Milk’s co-operative objectives.

In addition, First4Milk sees the co-operative publish a number of ambitious targets for improvements in sustainable practices, including:

  • Targeting 65% relative reduction in CO2e, 40% relative reduction in energy use and 30% relative reduction in water use at processing sites by 2025 (against 2008 baseline)
  • Protecting watercourses by offsetting all nitrate, phosphate and sediment production from processing sites by 2022 and achieving a 40% relative reduction in food waste from sites by 2025
  • Eliminating direct waste to landfill from sites by 2025
  • 20% of member businesses involved in existing Next Generation Programme to encourage young people into the dairy sector
  • Launch of automated animal health and welfare index by end of 2020
  • Antibiotic stewardship rolled out across membership with members achieving usage below RUMA targets by 2020
  • Taking a key role in leading the development of Landscape Enterprise Networks

Commenting on the announcement, Mark Brooking, Membership Director, said:

“As well as caring about dairy foods being safe, nutritious and affordable, consumers also want assurances about the way that their food is produced. We are committed to playing our part in producing food in a responsible way and First4Milk sets out our commitments and key targets to drive improvement. We will be addressing these challenges with an open mind, by adopting new approaches and using emerging technology to enable faster progress on key issues. Our new app, developed with Kingshay, will enable members to aggregate and utilise information that they already have by putting it all in one place, without any additional work, and we are committed to developing this tool so that it can become an integral part of how our members manage their farm businesses. We will also continue with our annual Responsible Farming Awards, recognising excellence in sustainable practice among our members.”