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Sustainability as the engine of the Chilean dairy sector (2019)

After two years of intense participatory work, the Chilean dairy sector defined its priorities in its “Dairy Sustainability Agenda by 2021”

Alignment with SDGs


Natalie Jones Consorcio Lechero • Chile


The Consorcio Lechero is aware of the challenges that currently faces the national dairy industry in matters of economic, social and environmental sustainability. Thus, it decided to draw a way of work through a collaborative project that has designed, convened and facilitated the development of the first Dairy Sustainability Agenda.

This document seeks to deliver an integral and strategic approach to face the challenges and opportunities of the national dairy sector, identifying its priorities according to the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental. In addition, it compiles the actions that the national dairy sector has carried out in matters of sustainability, systematizes the lifting of priorities, and exposes the process of participatory work that has meant the construction of this document.

Moving the wheel

In the process of designing this Agenda, we use the methodology proposed by the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF). We chose this framework, because it accommodates regional particularities and adapts to the reality of each country. Therefore, it respects the prioritization of problems related to sustainability, in such a way that organizations can adapt the methodology to their own agendas promoting the participation of all stakeholders.

The initiative involved the participation of more than 380 people representing the different links of the chain, which allowed understanding and defining the sustainability priorities of the sector, its opportunities, objectives and actions to be carried out.

The Chilean Dairy Sustainability Agenda is presented with concrete proposals and clear challenges, looking at sustainability in an integral way and became the instance that allows coordinating the actions that different companies are already developing

History of success

The Chilean Dairy Sustainability Agenda represents concrete proposals and clear challenges. It looks at sustainability in a holistic way and enables coordination of actions that different companies are currently developing. Some of the work priorities included in this agenda are:

  • In the economic sphere, work will be done to improve the level of knowledge about the functioning of the dairy market in the dairy industry, generate greater market development and improve the assessment of the sector’s impact on the rural economy.
  • In the social pillar of the agenda, the sector will seek to attract new generations and make the dairy sector a more attractive career option, promote greater recognition of animal welfare in our dairies, and continue to guarantee safety and food safety in the different sizes of industries, contributing to the evaluation of dairy products in consumers.
  • In the environmental pillar, the sector will gain in the use and care of water, the treatment of waste and the management of greenhouse gases.

Future Opportunities

This work has allowed us to review the current situation of our industry, revealing the need to generate baselines that show us the horizon of our gaps and allow us to measure our progress and the effectiveness of the actions we propose for a sustainable development.

Currently, we have two national projects underway that seek to know where our processors and farmers are with respect of our priorities. Both projects are public-private in nature and will allow us to develop concrete actions to progress in our main gaps.

In the first case, 12 companies with 21 processing plants – which represent about 90% of processed milk in Chile – took on the challenge of participating in the process of building a Clean Production Agreement. This project is financed 70% by the government, through the Agency for Sustainability and Climate Change.

At farmer´s level, the Chilean dairy sector will be one of the three pilots that will initiate the “Sustainability Program for the Chilean agri-food sector” led by the Ministry of Agriculture. Participating in this program would allow us to articulate the necessary resources to promote the implementation of more sustainable practices on dairy farms and valued its sustainability attributes in both national and international markets.

Further information

on the project can be found on the Consorcio Lechero website and on the “Chilean Dairy Sustainability Agenda by 2021