Our Farm Sustainability: Glanbia Ingredients Ireland

We are committed to protecting the environment while increasing our output by more than 50% by 2020. To achieve this we developed our innovative Open Source® Programme.

Like no other dairy company, worldwide

GII is a founding member of Origin Green, the sustainability development programme initiated by the Irish Food Board, Bord Bia. This includes the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS), which is the first national dairy audit scheme of its kind anywhere in the world – independently auditing, recording and monitoring sustainability credentials of every dairy farm across the country.

To help prepare our milk suppliers to meet the SDAS standards, our expert milk advisory team works closely with them on milk quality, sustainability and farm development as well as planning for the future in terms of finances, expansion and succession planning.

This has led to the launch of our Open Source® Sustainability and Quality Assurance code, which you can order by contacting us. Our sustainability team works closely with our farmers, offering support across many areas of sustainable dairy farming, including:

  • Milk quality
  • Animal health and welfare
  • Soil and grassland management
  • Energy efficiency
  • Carbon emissions
  • Water usage
  • Waste management
  • Biodiversity
  • Health and safety at farms

Combined with Ireland’s natural environment, this meticulous approach to sustainability sets us apart from other dairy companies internationally. GII is focused on ensuring that all milk suppliers are independently audited under the Open Source code.

Complete traceability

But the Open Source Programme isn’t solely about meeting the exacting SDAS standards. Grass-based production is the most cost-effective, environmentally friendly and efficient way to feed dairy herds – and in that respect, Ireland is naturally blessed:

  • Grasslands comprise 80% of our agricultural land
  • Ireland has the most carbon-efficient dairy production within the EU
  • Our annual grass growth rate exceeds the European average by more than a third

We take our responsibility of maintaining that position seriously – from both an ecological and quality perspective. In fact, our grass-based approach is also intrinsically linked to our ability to offer our Glanbia Price Volatility Scheme (GPVS), which would be far more difficult if our milk suppliers had a high dependency on grains within the cows’ diet.

We understand the importance of soil health and the difference great grassland management can make to our milk suppliers’ profitability. That’s why we’ve developed efficient Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs) in conjunction with skilled farmers. These maximise grass production from the land, which in turn helps to nurture the healthiest herds that produce the highest-quality milk.

We are also the only dairy ingredients company in the world to commission independent, third-party animal welfare audits across the entirety of our herds, and we employ our own in-house veterinarian practitioner who has developed a GII-specific herd health programme. Combined, these factors offer complete traceability for our customers, with a clear audit trail from the farm, to our processing plants, to the end product.

Find out more about the many high sustainability standards we reach by taking a look at our accreditations page.

Lead Supporter of Climate Smart Agriculture initiative

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland is a lead supporter of The Institute of International and European Affairs and the Royal Dublin Society Leadership Forum on Climate-Smart Agriculture. The forum promotes awareness and adoption of Climate-Smart Agricultural policies and practices in Ireland, and works to establish Ireland as a climate-smart leader internationally. A key aspect of its work is to ensure that findings are communicated and understood nationally and internationally, with a view to supporting the work of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture.

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland is committed to sustainably growing our increased milk supply in the post quota era and sees the IIEA/RDS Climate-Smart Leadership Forum as a critical vehicle for consultation on policy development.

This initiative is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.