Ash Amirahmadi took over the reins of the Roadmap from NFU dairy board chair, Michael Oakes, earlier this month. That is an extra function for Amirahmadi, who can also be chairman of Dairy UK and managing director of Arla, the place he oversees the co-op’s local weather motion roadmap. Of the UK Dairy Roadmap, he mentioned it’s ‘basic for the sector in driving ahead environmental enhancements and bringing business collectively to maneuver ahead as one’. DairyReporter spoke to Amirahmadi to search out out extra about his imaginative and prescient for the Roadmap and what lies forward for UK dairy . . .
How do you consider the work performed by your predecessor, Michael Oakes?
I feel Michael did a improbable job as chair of the Roadmap. Throughout his tenure, a complete assessment of the Roadmap was undertaken to make sure it was match for the longer term and that assessment concerned bringing numerous stakeholders from authorities to NGOs to retailers in addition to processors and farmers to the desk. In consequence, we had been in a position to see everybody’s overlapping priorities and get settlement on a raised ambition for the Roadmap to a powerful net-zero dedication. Michael additionally broadened our communications messages to convey the advantages and the nice work performed up to now below the umbrella of the Roadmap and laid the foundations for larger understanding of each the advantages and alternatives that continued collective engagement within the Roadmap might carry. It’s because of this tough work that the Roadmap is in such a great place for a extra formidable future.
Arla has performed an enormous quantity of labor when it comes to sustainability in latest instances. How are you hoping to leverage this know-how to enhance the general footprint of British dairy farmers and the broader provide chain?
We have now spent a few years working alongside our farmer homeowners to speed up the transition to sustainable dairy, and so have a great understanding of what’s wanted to scale back emissions. We all know that dairy is a nutritious, inexpensive and an accessible supply of meals and so by guaranteeing we produce it in the very best method, we are able to safe its place in a sustainable eating regimen. I’m very a lot wanting ahead to making use of the learnings from our journey at Arla into the Roadmap and sharing data throughout the business to drive the way forward for sustainable British dairy.
What can be of specific focus to you throughout your tenure? What are a number of the key challenges that you’ve got recognized and want to deal with?
For me, there are a variety of key areas that we have to concentrate on. The choices we make on the setting must be data-led. And certainly, the selections we’d like authorities to make must be data-led. So,
we have to clearly present our progress as a sector.
There may be lots of work occurring each on the processing and farming aspect, however this must be captured absolutely, so we are able to present the place we’re making good points and enhancements and the place extra work is required. We then have to make these enhancements at tempo – with a transparent understanding in fact that modifications aren’t easy and are available at a price, however demonstrable sustainable enchancment is at tempo is one thing we have to obtain as an entire sector. Throughout my chairmanship, I’ll do my utmost to help that.
I will even be specializing in guaranteeing that everybody understands the enterprise case for constructive local weather motion and growing the communications to stakeholders and customers.
When it comes to local weather targets, what are a number of the crucial ones that you simply really feel are notably necessary to concentrate on? How would you interact with the business to make sure that stakeholders are taking motion to implement any related measures?
Within the brief time period, our key ambition is to get all dairy farmers to undertake carbon foot-printing by June 2023 in order that our future targets are data-driven. There’s a clear hyperlink between carbon footprint and manufacturing effectivity, so we’re sharing this message with farmers and processors to advertise engagement.
Alongside carbon footprinting, we’re accumulating farm knowledge in areas that drive emissions to develop significant farm-level key efficiency indicators and targets. At processing websites, we’re working to scale back carbon emissions associated to vitality use. Dairy processors are investing in fuel-switching and renewable vitality and taking motion to scale back vitality depth.
We have to make sure that motion taken to achieve local weather targets doesn’t have unfavourable impacts in different areas of sustainability, so the Roadmap is working with business to make sure that it takes a holistic strategy.
We’re engaged on a Sustainability Greatest Observe doc for dairy processors with a sequence of workshops deliberate for 2023 to share data throughout the business, so no person will get left behind.
One of many Roadmap’s formidable initiatives is the will to determine an business customary for environmental sustainability coaching by 2025. How do you envision this to take form?
This ambition has been outdated by our plan to launch a Processor Sustainability Greatest Observe Information and a sequence of farmer-facing Greatest Observe Bulletins to enhance the event of key efficiency indicators and data-driven targets. We’re accumulating case research, analysis output and recommendation from throughout the provision chain to feed into these paperwork. Moderately than ready till 2025, they are going to be launched over the following few months and will likely be accessible to anybody throughout the business.
There’s a wealth of information and expertise inside our business and relatively than specializing in coaching people, we imagine that one of the best ways to make progress at tempo is to work collectively.
Producers are dealing with a heap of challenges, from weather-related points to unstable vitality and fertilizer costs. How would you get throughout to these farmers and companies who’re maybe preoccupied with tackling the problems of at present relatively than adopting climate-management options for the longer-term?
Buying and selling situations are definitely powerful in the meanwhile, they usually’re powerful for everybody. With so many value pressures dealing with companies, it truly is all hands-on deck. However the Roadmap and its sustainability aims are part of making companies extra sustainable, extra environment friendly and more practical.
Steady enchancment must be part of the whole lot we do, particularly in onerous instances, and it’ll ship higher enterprise observe in the long term.
If there have been 5 issues that farmers might implement at present to begin making a change when it comes to sustainability, what ought to these be?
I feel we have to acknowledge that each farm is completely different, and what works for one farm, might not be appropriate for an additional. That’s why wanting on the knowledge and being data-driven is so key. If farmers can perceive the place their largest areas for enchancment lie, that offers them a great beginning to level to work from and importantly, to measure the place change might be made.
We all know that buyers are more and more looking for extra sustainable merchandise. How can dairy battle for this market, and what are a number of the steps that you simply suppose the British business can take to additional promote its inexperienced credentials?
It’s fully comprehensible that every one of us as customers are wanting extra carefully on the environmental credentials of the whole lot we purchase and devour – and we owe it to the 99% of UK households who devour our merchandise to reply the questions they’ve concerning the sustainability of dairy.
customers can relaxation assured that British dairy is sustainable, they usually may be shocked to search out out that British dairy cows are answerable for solely 2% of the UK’s complete greenhouse gasoline emissions, and that the footprint of UK milk has been measured between one third to 1 half decrease than the worldwide common.
Dairy farmers and processors are working onerous to help and encourage biodiversity on their farms. The sector has made good good points when it comes to vitality effectivity, lowering waste, growing the recyclability of their merchandise, and producing inexperienced vitality.
These are the messages we now have been speaking to customers this 12 months by way of our pre-competitive marketing campaign ‘It’s What We’re Product of’ – which highlights and surprises customers with the work of the Dairy Roadmap over the previous 14 years to enhance dairy sustainability, and which we’ll be persevering with to construct on into 2023.
In fact, enhancing our sustainability is a job that may by no means be completed; by way of the UK Dairy Roadmap, the business is consistently driving ahead new ambitions and targets to proceed pushing ahead our sustainability good points and making ourselves extra a extra environment friendly and greener business. We will likely be working onerous in direction of our web zero local weather ambition as set out final 12 months, in addition to assembly targets on carbon foot printing, water use, meals waste and recycling.