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Futureproofing measures to protect the environment

‘Climate change and biodiversity loss are a clear and present danger to humanity’

The European Commission’s Green Deal aims to make Europe carbon neutral by 2050. This is bolstered by a medium-term “Farm to Fork” strategy, which outlines how the agriculture sector will helpbachieve this goal up to 2030.

Amongsthe strategy’s aims are: reducing biodiversity loss, improving animal welfare, and increasing organically farmed land to 25 per cent of EU agricultural land area. It also proposes ambitious measures to ensure that the healthy option is the easiest for EU citizens, including improved labelling to better meet consumers’ information needs on healthy, sustainable foods.

Frans Timmermans, executive vice-president for the European Green Deal, has said the coronavirus crisis has shown how vulnerable we all are, and how important it is to restore the balance between human activity and nature.

“Climate change and biodiversity loss are a clear and present danger to humanity,” he said. “At the heart of the Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy points to a new and better balance of nature, food systems and biodiversity; to protect our people’s health and wellbeing, and at the same time to increase the EU’s competitiveness and resilience. These strategies are a crucial part of the great transition we are embarking upon.”


Carbery’s launch of the Futureproof Sustainability programme is another flagship initiative in 2022. Designed to build on and support the work already underway on sustainability on the farms of farmer suppliers, Carbery is offering a €6 million annual bonus fund for suppliers who meet four sustainability criteria under the FutureProof initiative.

To prepare for the roll out of the full scheme in 2023, every supplier who has opted into the scheme will receive a 0.5cpl bonus on all milk supplied in 2022. In exchange, farmers have committed to a sustainability pledge, and all farms will agree to undergo an ASSAP assessment for water quality.

In 2023, Carbery suppliers who sign up to FutureProof will receive 1 cent per litre bonus in exchange for the implementation of milk recording, meeting certain EBI thresholds, commitment to an ASSAP water quality assessment, and using protected urea.

Jason Hawkins, chief executive of Carbery, underlines the company’s long established commitment to sustainability — an ethos that has come from the attitude of its 1,220 farmer suppliers.

“We have a long record of pioneering sustainable approaches and promoting sustainability on our farms. Whether through our Carbery Trees programme, under which 100,000 trees have been planted on west Cork farms, our Carbery Greener Dairy farmers programme, underway since 2012, or our Farm Zero C project, we have always prioritised sustainable approaches.”

The FutureProof bonus will ensure Carbery farmers take their sustainability approach to the next level, and keeps them to the forefront of farming sustainably.

“Though we are starting from a good base,” Hawkins says, “with years of positive action behind us, farmers have a huge challenge ahead to meet the agriculture reduction target of 25 per cent as set out in the Climate Action Plan. We will support our farmers all the way, and FutureProof will be a key enabler of this. We look forward to working together with Government on their proposals to do the same.”

The FutureProof bonus will take full effect in 2023. Implementation of all four FutureProof measures would see the average Carbery supplier earning an additional €5,000 annually from the bonus. This is in addition to savings and gains that would be made through efficiencies and increased productivity.