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Supporting sustainable dairy farming in Ireland

Cream is a key raw material for Baileys Irish Cream. Sourced from one principal supplier in Ireland, it was a manageable place to start testing our new sustainable agriculture guidelines.

Supporting sustainable dairy farming in Ireland

In 2011, Diageo set about working with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII), our longstanding cream supplier, to redefine sustainable dairy farming and establish new guidelines. We saw great potential both for the sustainable credentials of the Baileys brand and for making a real contribution to the sustainability of the Irish dairy sector.

We collaborated with GII to help form a sustainability strategy and create their advisory committee, meeting regularly to address issues around quality assurance, animal health and welfare, carbon, biodiversity, water, and health and safety, with a view to improving the sustainability of their 4,300 dedicated farms.

GII began its audit programme in July 2012 which will take two years to implement. The programme includes a carbon audit which has been developed in the past year in conjunction with the Irish Food Board, Dairy Research Institute and the Carbon Trust. This work established an accredited carbon audit methodology and calculation for the dairy industry.

Leading the dairy sector in sustainable practice

Seán Molloy, director of strategy and supplier relations for GII, said, ‘In August 2010 Diageo approached us with a view to developing a sustainable cream initiative armed with a template of ambitious sustainability indicators and timelines. Through the ensuing discussions our joint ambition and vision grew and GII set out on a course to develop a benchmark sustainability programme not just for cream, but for our entire process chain from cow to customer. Prompted by this initiative, other leading Irish milk processing businesses are now actively developing sustainability practices for their milk suppliers. Furthermore, a drive to establish a national sustainability initiative is currently being promoted by the Irish government.’

GII looks forward to seeing the practices deliver long-term commercial benefits to Irish dairy farmers and a positive impact on sustainability practices across the country. And at Diageo, we’re proud of our role as a catalyst within our supply chain and are hoping to apply and share our learnings from working with GII to other suppliers.