Arla blog

Food for thought

In the words of Elvis: ‘A little less conversation, a little more action please’

I couldn’t resist coining this great phrase from the ‘King’ for a presentation I gave last week at the International Dairy Federation’s annual meeting in Istanbul. It sums up perfectly the main take-out I wanted delegates to leave with, that while we need to tell all the great stories about dairy, we also need STORY-DOING.

Creating a sustainable future for dairy requires us to continuously and consistently take action. Especially when dairy along with other foods that have been enjoyed for centuries has gone from no questions asked to being examined and questioned. The nutritional value of food, how it has been produced and at what costs have never been more important to consumers.

And farmers have never played a more important role. As a global community we depend on dairy farmers to provide good nourishment for a growing world population while taking action for a better climate.

In Arla, we have recognized that building trust in and relevance of Arla, our farmers and dairy as part of a sustainable future is the most important and fundamental task. So we are in the pro-cess of ingraining sustainability into every part of our business and at farm level and we use our actions to help build loyalty towards our brands.

In our value chain, eighty per cent of our total emissions come from the farms. And even though our farmers are among the very best to produce milk as efficiently as possible, there is still a huge potential to do more.

I’m a farmer’s daughter and I know how farmers depend on the weather. They are probably more interested than the average person in maintaining a balanced climate. So we should not under-estimate the positive and significant role farmers have and want to take in fighting climate change, while also helping deliver the UN’s sustainable development goals.

But the individual farmer can’t do it on his or her own. We need to motivate them, support them and stand side by side with them.

And to highlight this point, I wore my wellies on stage, because being in a cooperative owned by farmers I spend a lot of time talking with our farmers. At the moment we are having many dis-cussions with them to design programs and tools to support and encourage change on farm. Arla’s farmer owners have already done a lot in the past and are committed to carbon net zero in 2050 and a 30 per cent reduction in 2030. Step by step. It will place huge demands on them in the years to come. But they understand their role and responsibility. 

The future of sustainable dairy is one we are creating together and dairy farmers and the whole industry have already started to take “a little more action”.

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