When the Australian dairy industry developed its Sustainability Framework in 2012, it was a landmark achievement that put the Australian dairy at the forefront of sustainable food production globally.
Australian dairy led the way, becoming the first agricultural sector to take an industry-wide approach to tackling sustainability through the development of a comprehensive framework.
In 2015, the Australian dairy industry was recognised for these pioneering efforts by being named the winner of the Food for Sustainable Thought Award at the Banksia Sustainability Awards.
Designed to be responsive to the changing global landscape, the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework is based around Australian dairy's core promise to provide nutritious food for a healthier world.
Through the framework, the industry reports against that promise and its commitments to dairy people, the community's wellbeing, animals and the environment.
A decade on from the initial development of the framework and the urgency around the need for developing long-term sustainability is as great as ever, as highlighted by the recent catastrophic bushfire and flood events.
Much remains to be done but the Australian dairy industry can be proud of what it has achieved thus far.
The release of the 10-year anniversary report of the Australian Dairy Sustainability Framework was timed to coincide with World Milk Day on June 1, a day of celebration for the dairy industry worldwide.
The report provides highlights from the dairy industry's sustainability journey over the past 10 years and confirms our commitment to continuous improvement so that dairy continues to be part of a healthy, nutritious, affordable and sustainable diet.
Overall, there has been a 23.5 per cent reduction in dairy manufacturers' emissions intensity since 2010/11, with 94pc of dairy farmers now implementing some measures to reduce emissions on-farm to reduce environmental impact.
There has also been significant improvement in how the industry approaches animal care in the last decade.
Research shows that 100pc of dairy farmers now support compliance with animal welfare standards, with most going well beyond this to ensure the best possible care for their animals.
In terms of dairy's role in improving the wellbeing of people, 88pc of general practitioners now feel confident in recommending dairy as a part of a balanced diet.
Investment by Dairy Australia in research has also shown that dairy reduces fractures in aged care residents by 33pc.
Australian Dairy also now plays a major role in enhancing people's livelihoods and our country's economic viability.
Dairy companies generate $15.7 billion in sales and support 70,000 full-time jobs.
Importantly, the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework is fully aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The framework also includes targets that set the industry's sights for continuous improvement, with indicators and metrics for measuring and reporting progress.
The Australian dairy industry can be justifiably proud of the fact that it supports national and global commitments to net zero emissions.
The industry's commitment to sustainability has been an integral element of the success of the first ten years of the framework.
In their foreword to the framework's 10-year anniversary report, Graeme Nicoll (chair - Dairy Sustainability Steering Committee) and Rick Gladigau (chair - Australian Dairy Industry Council) wrote that:
"In 2022, the urgency of managing sustainability risks such as climate change is increasing," they wrote.
"So, too, is the pace of change in our operating environment. As a result, the framework continues to evolve. It is, after all, a living document that responds to changes in needs and events.
"The dairy industry's vision of sustainable development is as clear today as it was a decade ago. We remain at the forefront of sustainable food production. We intend to still be there in 10 years from now - and beyond."
Action taken over the past 10 years has shown that the Australian dairy industry is serious about being sustainable.
For more information about the internationally recognised Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework and the dairy industry's commitments to its people, animals, the community and planet visit website dairy.com.au/sustainabilityframework.