First Milk publish 2013 Sustainability review

Having launched their Sustainability programme in late 2012, First Milk has completed a review covering activities in 2013 across five specific workstreams areas (food for the future; cow & calf; wheels, yields and deals; reduce, renew, recycle; and feed for the future). Each programme area has a long-term goal to be achieved by 2020, with defined annual targets.

First Milk’s chief executive Kate Allum detailed the company’s aspiration with regard to Sustainability and performance so far,

“At First Milk, our aim is to provide safe, responsibly produced, nutritious foods. We must do this by providing sustainable margins for our farmer owners, while protecting natural resources for future generations.

“We launched our Sustainability programme in late 2012. It has five workstream areas that look right along the supply chain.

“During 2013, we made progress across the board with a broad range of activities, in most cases working alongside great partners including Nestlé and Fonterra. Picking out just a few examples of what we did in 2013:

Our innovation pipeline is moving fast with 3 great tasting, nutritious brand launches.

Incentivised farmers supplying all our creameries to produce milk solids. This rewards milk quality by focusing payments more on the protein and butterfat content of milk, and less on volume. We are now paying out some of the highest milk prices in the UK to these farmers.

Invested in membrane technology at our Haverfordwest creamery to allow us to recover water from our farmers’ milk. We use this to clean the site, reducing our reliance on mains water by 50%.

Reduced the carbon footprint of our Lake District site by 35% by the replacement of traditional boilers with clean burn gas technology.

Worked with Edinburgh University Vet School to improve animal health by better management of diseases such as mastitis. Participating farmers have been rewarded with higher bonuses and we have seen an improvement in milk quality.

Partnered with Natural Resources Wales on an innovative approach to offset effluent discharge levels at our Haverfordwest creamery, by working in collaboration with our farmers to reduce nutrient run off from their farms. The Welsh Government are now using this as a case study throughout Wales.

“We look to constantly improve the economic, environmental and ethical sustainability of our supply chain – learning from best practice in dairy around the world, and in other industries.

“We are also involved in a number of pan-industry initiatives, the leading role we played in the latest version of the Dairy Roadmap is just one example.

“As a farmer owned business, we naturally look right along the supply chain from farm inputs right through to the packaging and foods that we deliver to consumers. We will continue working alongside our farmers and our partners in 2014 to increase the pace and breadth of our Sustainability activities.”

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