Kerry Group (Tralee, Ireland) announced recently that it has completed certification of all 3,300 of its milk suppliers per the requirements of the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS), a quality and sustainability program that independently audits farm-level performance every 18 months.
The 3,300 milk suppliers located in South West Ireland annually supply the company with more than 1.2 billion liters of milk produced via a grass-based system, and their participation in the SDAS program demonstrates further their commitment to sustainable practices. The audit process also measures the carbon footprint of each farm, giving farmers direct feedback to assist their efforts at monitoring their environmental impact and improvement thereof.
For Kerry, the SDAS audits help it achieve its quality, safety, and traceability goals at the farm level, while also ensuring that it continues to pursue more sustainable production vis-à-vis environmental management, animal health and welfare, pasture management and health and safety criteria. Participation in SDAS has also fostered active engagement between Kerry’s agribusiness division and its milk suppliers, better to guide the latter through the certification process. Now that the company has reached this milestone, it plans to focus on supporting its farmers in their continued efficient and sustainable production.
In a company press statement, Kerry Group CEO Designate Edmond Scanlon noted, “It is increasingly important that we can demonstrate to customers and consumers that their food is safely and sustainably produced. Kerry’s heritage lies in processing the highest quality, natural, grass fed dairy and the achievement of SDAS certification by all our milk suppliers is an important part of the Group’s broader sustainability goals.” Michael Creed, T.D., Ireland’s minister of agriculture, food & the marine, as well as Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board), also hailed Kerry Group’s achievement.
SDAS is a product of a collaboration between Bord Bia and key stakeholders, and was launched in December 2013 under Origin Green, the world’s first food sustainability program to operate on a national scale uniting government, the private sector and food producers. Kerry is a founding member of origin green and the first major milk processor to achieve complete SDAS certification across its full Irish milk pool.