Publication - Minutes

Dairy Sector Climate Change Group minutes: 18 February 2021

Published: 10 Mar 2021
Date of meeting: 18 Feb 2021
Date of next meeting: 1 Mar 2021

Minutes of the meeting of the Dairy Sector Climate Change Group on 18 February 2021.

10 Mar 2021
Dairy Sector Climate Change Group minutes: 18 February 2021

Attendees and apologies


  • Jackie McCreery (Chair)
  • Thomas Cameron
  • David Campbell
  • Rory Christie
  • Bryce Cunningham
  • Robert Dodds 
  • Paul Grant, Dairy Growth Board
  • Bruce Mackie
  • Tracey Roan
  • Sarah Simpson
  • Johnnie Sloan
  • Grant Walker
  • Sally Williams 
  • Erlend Wood
  • Andrew Griffiths, Head of Value Chain Sustainability Nestle UK&I - agenda item 4
  • Judith Bryans, CEO Dairy UK – agenda item 4    

Scottish Government Officials:

  • Gregor Caldwell
  • Stefan Hoyte

Secretariat – SG officials:

  • Elizabeth Bauld
  • Kevin Matheson
  • Derek Wilson


  • John Kerr 
  • Alistair Prior

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Jackie McCreery welcomed the group members and guest speakers, thanking everyone for their work so far. 

Note of last meeting 

The note of the previous meeting was accepted by the group as an official record.

Actions update

The group reviewed the actions from the previous meeting. It was agreed that time was a constraining factor on group meetings and a small off record zoom call with select members of Farming for 1.5 degrees group would be very useful. The group noted that the update provided by Stefan Hoyte with the evidence from the RESAS Research Proposal was still a work in progress as some data was not yet available such as CTS data and dairy payments envelope information. The Chair updated the group on the online publishing of the groups remit. She also shared a paper outlining factors influencing a vision for the sector, noting that our vision should if possible align with the vison set out in the Dairy Growth Board 2030 paper, and also with the 6 outcomes for Agriculture set out by the Climate Change Plan Update. The group agreed that one point missing from both these papers was the wider socio-economic impact on rural communities and social wellbeing arising from the dairy sector. Lastly, the chair added that the surveys had been sent out and some responses had already been collected for the groups discussion later in the meeting.

Note – group requested a follow up on the RESAS research proposal paper ASAP – written details have been provided to Stefan Hoyte in RESAS.


  • Jackie McCreery, Sarah Simpson, Sally Williams and Rory Christie to meet with Nigel miller and a non-farming member from Farming for 1.5 Degrees
  • Stefan Hoyte to alert Steven Thompson to give live feedback to group on RESAS data
  • Chair to circulate Dave Roberts SRUC presentation from previous meeting

Processor perspectives 

Jackie welcomed Andrew Griffiths, Head of Value Chain Sustainability, Nestle UK and I to the group. Andrew summarised the processors perspective in terms of Nestles approach to the climate change challenge and covered some of the work Nestle have been involved with over the last 18 months. 

He noted that Nestle are committed to meeting net zero by 2050 target and aims to accelerate and catalyse the increase in use of regenerative agriculture by 20% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.  Recognising that funding is required for enabling transition, they have allocated 1.2 billion Swiss Francs to this process.  

Andrew summarised the Regional Lens model which has been developed independently with assistance from Nestle to engage with business in order to help them understand their dependency on the landscape, and water quality, habitat, soil carbon, nutrients in water, flood risks etc, to allow businesses to invest and focus on particular interventions and outcomes. The lens operator consolidates the chosen outcomes into a template and are then sent to supply aggregators who will convene farmers and land managers and construct a proposal to deliver those outcomes. This approach allows efficient investments. 

The Lens model has been tested on farmers across Cumbria who are now delivering the outcomes. In South & East Ayrshire, working with prof Mark Reid and SEPA to see how we leverage the Lens model across Scotland and in policy. Andrew noted that efficiency gains are seen at annual basis – eg. Habitat - but with particular metrics a shift in outcome may not be demonstrated for five years –eg.  soil carbon – and there is a requirement for structured payments for implementation; it is expected that outcomes will follow with the view to move to outcome based payments rather than implementation In the future. 


  • Andrew Griffith’s slides to be shared with the group
  • Andrew to send links for circulation round the group 

The Chair next welcomed Judith Bryans, CEO Dairy UK to the group to give an international perspective and processor view in terms of the climate change challenge. 

Judith covered the pressures in processors at International level coming into UK and national and customer level - what they’re doing and trying to achieve. She explained the UN Food System Summit; the UN set 17 sustainable goals to be achieved 2030, with a view that if the world was not on track – as it is not currently - to achieve this then governments would put in place regulations to make sure those sustainable development goals would be achieved. The Summit is a movement to change how we produce and consume food around the world and will put in place how we operate in next decade, noting that it has been universally accepted by the UN that food systems are broken. The UN will ask the UK to sign a political declaration; each of the five work tracks have champion noting that the track “sustainable production and consumption of food” will be led by the current chair of EAT.

Judith went on to cover the commitments as part of Climate change, mentioning the pressures on processors including international work that translates into UK and the political movement on what regulations will be brought into place. She mentioned from a customer and consumer perspective sustainability is top priority so processors have to align. It was noted that consumers are heavily influenced by media.  

Judith mentioned that from a processor perspective, it has been relatively easy to measure and reduce emissions within their own businesses, however emissions  along the supply chain has been more difficult. Dairy UK have been tasked with developing processor standards for farm.  She highlighted that the dairy sector aren’t looking for show farms but are looking for transparency within the industry. She noted that in China farms are open and the processing plant open – data was available. More data is required to combat some of the accusations thrown at industry.


  • Judith’s speaking notes or slides to be circulated after meeting

Group to look at data collection options as SG will be able to help with this

Scottish Government perspective 

Derek Wilson, Head of Agriculture Transformation in Productivity, updated the group on the SG perspective on the farmer led groups and timescales. Derek highlighted climate change would remain a priority for any incoming administration and therefor the work of the farmers leg groups remained vital. He highlighted that the work of the FLG would inform the conversation on future CAP support and that a new agri-bill will be required in the course of the next administration. . He mentioned that the Scottish Government has set out why it believes that it is set to lose £170 million from the Scottish budget as a result of the UK spending review and that needs to be factored in going forward.. 

Derek reiterated the importance of the farmer led groups was outlined in order to get farmers on board with tackling climate change, noting that the group’s recommendations would be key in enabling this. Once the dairy group’s report is completed, the SG will be able to pull together this and the recommendations from all other farmers led groups and seek how best to collectively take forward. He noted that the CCPU demonstrates how challenging the climate change targets will be to meet and therefore the group needs to consider what they require to meet the 1/3 emissions reductions, what it will cost and what are the requirements to do so. He mentioned that the three conditionality elements recommended by the beef group and that the dairy group needs to determine their merits. 


  • need for all groups to be consulted on LFASS  
  • Secretariat to send round farmer led group member lists

Sub Group break-out session

The Group split into three break-out groups, discussing quick wins, innovation and research, and how to drive change.


  • Groups to report back by Wednesday 24th February
  • Sub-Group Chairs (Jackie, Sarah, Rory) to meet on 1st March

Aide memoire and survey responses discussion 

The group discussed their views on the farmer led groups integration approach. With regards to approaching future resources requirements, the group agreed that it was important that all sectors had equitable share and that one sector should not be prioritised over others. It was agreed that it will be difficult to set out what funding without knowing what the envelope will be. 

The group discussed the entry level baseline criteria, menu of management options and capital funding set out in the suckler beef report, agreeing that this approach is a good one however it was noted that management options should focus on how they will be measured – will there be targets so that those further along should be able to capture the benefits as well as those who have yet to make improvements. The practically of carbon foot-printing was addressed, noting that there is variability between sectors; the Dairy foot print, beef footprint and whole farming footprint can differ and so any measurement has to be accurate. The barriers to change were highlighted, notably a communication strategy is required, encouragement rather than rules should be the approach to get everyone on board.

The group then discussed the 62 responses from the dairy farmer survey so far. The group agreed that there is a need to look at why some farmers don’t think that carbon auditing is useful. It was noted that those participating are those most likely to be interested in carbon audits 

Next steps

  • need for farmer led groups to come together
  • need for farmer led groups to discuss baseline and Capital Grants in order to ensure a level playing field in terms of delivery
  • need to discover whether there is a percentage of farmers in the sector looking to retire – what can be done in policy to encourage this?
  • commonality requirement  for climate change hub
  • data from Agrecalc (aggregated and anonymised) required for next meeting to get an inclination of a baseline

Date of next meeting

Friday 26th February 16.00

Post meeting note: meeting re-arranged for Monday 1st March 18.30.