Major players in the European dairy sector have recently launched the work on the Dairy Environmental Footprint Pilot (‘DAIRY PEF’), which will give results on environmental footprints for dairy products by mid-2016.

The DAIRY PEF will develop both, a specific methodology – known as Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules or PEFCR – and communication guidance on the environmental footprint of different dairy products. The methodology and the communication will be tested ‘on the ground’.

The project includes a huge array of environmental issues, including the carbon footprint, but also water use, other different emissions, land use change, and allocation questions. The dairy project is driven by major actors of the dairy world, including dairy companies like Bel Group, Danone, DMK, Fonterra and FrieslandCampina, Coopérative Laitière de la Sèvre (CLS, a SME dairy), by retail (REWE Group), scientific organisations and other sector representatives (IDF, Actalia, Cniel/Atla, Institut de l’Elevage), governmental bodies (CGDD and Ademe, the French ministry and national agency for environment) and an LCA consultant (Quantis).

Several cooperating organisations have also joined the effort to further permit in-depth and high quality coverage of the practical issues and reality of the dairy sector. The project also includes public consultations, which are open to every interested stakeholder.

The framework of the pilot is given by the European Commission’s DG Environment initiative of a “Single Market for Green Products”. A pilot phase of three years was launched in 2013 for non-food products and now in 2014 for 11 food and drink pilots.