Dale Farm has committed to reducing the carbon footprint of its milk production by 30% by 2030 as part of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

As part of its work with the SBTi, the dairy cooperative is required to set environmental targets in line with the latest climate science deemed necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Another of Dale Farm’s SBTi targets, is to reduce the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its factories by at least 50% by 2028.

The SBTi aims to drive climate action in the private sector by enabling organisations to set science-based emissions reduction targets.

Dale Farm Group chief executive, Nick Whelan, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of every decision we make as a farmer-owned cooperative.

“Through our ‘Future Strong’ programme, we are not only reducing our carbon footprint and improving our environmental sustainability, but ensuring our farmers have resilient, sustainable, and profitable farm businesses for generations to come.”

‘Future Strong’

Dale Farm’s environmental targets as part of the SBTi form a key pillar of its ‘Future Strong’ sustainability programme.

The programme provides a framework for reducing emissions and improving efficiency both on farm and the factory floor, Dale Farm said.

Future Strong first launched in October 2023 with a detailed survey for Dale Farm farmer members, and an agreement from participants to carbon footprint their farms.

So far, the dairy cooperative has seen a 95% uptake from its supplier base for the initiative, and a sustainability payment is now made to participating producers as part of their base milk price.

Dale Farm said the next step is to develop nutrient management plans for each farm having farmers supported by Dale Farm’s Fertiliser Advisers Certification & Training Scheme (FACTS) trained employees throughout the process. 

“As a business we have rolled out many sustainability measures over the past number of years, including initiatives to drive efficiency and environmental footprint on farm, as well as lowering the carbon footprint of our factories, for example through our solar farm in Co. Tyrone powering our Dunmanbridge factory,” Whelan said.

“I am delighted that we are now taking the further step of developing binding, science-based targets with the SBTi that will bring us further towards net zero, as we work to make our cooperative stronger, more efficient, and more sustainable in every sense of the word.”