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Sustainable animal foods are necessary to the world

Date: November 29, 2022
Insights type: Blog
Subject Area: Environment, Sustainability
Categories: Blog

Despite the consensus on the substantial role of animal food such as dairy in healthy diets and sustainable food systems.

Despite the strong scientifical evidence of the nutritional and health benefits of nutrient-dense milk and dairy foods.

Despite the crucial contribution of dairy to UN SDGs and food security.

Despite all the commitments and numerous examples of ongoing climate actions.

Despite the fact that livestock contributes to 14.5% of GHG emissions (not all the false numbers being mentioned around) and dairy represents 4.1% of GHG emissions for the whole life cycle (2.9% for the milk production).

Despite the fact that methane emissions are part of a carbon cycle and the ecosystem services that livestock and dairy provide.

Despite all these facts, one could be surprised by the remaining attacks against livestock. Why do some insist on creating a controversy where there shouldn’t be any? Why excluding any agricultural sectors? Why is the world facing food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty?

Maybe it’s because:

  • Some policymakers are looking for easy solutions to a very complex situation.
  • Individual actions are overestimated.
  • Some believe that nutrition and health are not essential and can be traded off.
  • Some prefer to ignore the essential contribution of dairy to livelihood, rural economies and women empowerment.
  • Others believe that they can feed the world without animal food (forgetting that dairy animals eat mostly non-human edible crops, grasses and residues and that large portions of the world’s land cannot be used for other food production).


Let’s be clear: Dairy plays a critical role in sustainable food systems, and healthy diets and contributes to the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Dairy is also contributing to biodiversity, soil health, carbon sequestration and energy creation through manure.

Moreover, the global dairy sector is fully committed to climate action, and as a sector, we need to ensure that national governments include dairy contributions in their reporting on the UN SDGs, sustainability and climate commitments.

We encourage policymakers to have a holistic approach to Climate Change that takes into account nutrition density, accessibility and affordability to achieve nutrition security.

IDF promotes the Dairy sector’s commitment to Sustainability and Climate Action and supports the development of standards, methodologies and sharing of knowledge.

However, our work doesn’t end here. It’s everlasting. We will continue to generate tools, to promote and communicate the sector’s best practices, as well as to seize every opportunity we have to remind the world how committed, dynamic and innovative Global Dairy is.


Caroline Emond
Director General – International Dairy Federation

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