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A Farewell Message from Caroline Emond, First Female Director General of IDF

Date: March 25, 2024
Insights type: Blog, News
Categories: Blog, News

While I am preparing to say goodbye in few days, I would like to share some thoughts with you. During my tenure as IDF DG, I have travelled around the world and met with caring and engaged people of different backgrounds who shared the same goals for a better world for humanity and the planet.

The world is changing fast and IDF work is more relevant than ever. We are facing numerous disruptions, and we are finding solutions by acting together. We need to continue promoting the essential contribution of dairy to UN SDGs and to sustainable food systems. We should do so keeping in mind that:

  1. Nourishing is not only feeding. In a world where resources are limited, we need to prioritize production of nutrient-dense foods like milk and dairy.
  2. It is wrong to categorize countries without nuance regarding their consumption of animal sourced food. The reality is that malnutrition exists, as well as nutrient deficiencies and obesity in all countries at different levels. There is no ‘one size fit all’ diet even within one country, whether developed or developing. Such generalizations are not helping. The aim should be to promote diversity of nutritious and nutrient dense foods, produced in a sustainable manner.
  3. Dairy farmers care! They care daily for people and animal health and also for soil and water health. Farmers should be involved in decision-making and earn a decent livelihood for their contribution.
  4. Farmers matter. Farm size does not. What matters is good farming and farm management practices. Small scale farming is part of the solution but not the only one. We need a mix of farming systems adapted to geographical and economic realities.
  5. Not one size fit all healthy diet but several diets depending on individual needs, stage of life and geographical realities.
  6. It is crucial to continue sharing knowledge on the benefits of milk, cheese, and yogurt in school milk/feeding programs.
  7. We would benefit from promoting expected results instead of imposing solutions. Promoting expected results in dairy encourages innovation and flexibility, fostering a more adaptable sector that can respond effectively to diverse challenges.
  8. True costs of food should also include its benefits on numerous aspects, such as human nutrition and health, livelihoods of 1 billion people, and contribution to the eco-system services (biodiversity, using unusable land, bioenergy).


Lastly, on top of being nutritious, milk and dairy foods are means for livelihoods, women and girls’ empowerment.  Dairy is also part of different cultures around the world and contributes to the pleasure of eating and sharing with family and friends.

It has been an honour and a privilege to be the global dairy ambassador, and to collaborate with you all over the last six years. The global dairy sector is anchored in its rich past while embracing modernity, innovation and technology to ensure a bright future for dairy. Let’s continue to share knowledge and experience and to be inspired. Let’s engage with various actors of society and welcome more women and youth within our community.

Let’s be dairy together!

Caroline Emond
Director General – International Dairy Federation

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