Sustainability ranking of top dairy companies

Dairy companies know they need to be more sustainable. Cattle farming is one of the biggest contributors to global methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. The industry also faces environmental concerns such as soil and biodiversity degradation, as well as issues regarding animal welfare and rural economies. 

In our latest report we assess 10 of the world’s dairy companies to find out if they have a good sustainability story to tell — and who tells it best. 

We found most companies have a good story to tell, but the level of information and data they publish varies dramatically. Certain issues such as soil health and biodiversity are frequently overlooked. The majority could be telling their sustainability story better. 

There are three clear leaders, each scoring above 20/25. All three have comprehensive sustainability strategies that they report on in detail, backed by extensive datasets. They communicate their strategies and approaches clearly on multiple channels, using videos and infographics to explain complex topics in a simple way. 

Who we assessed:

We assessed 10 members of the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF) developed by the Global Dairy Agenda for Action (GDAA) to align the global dairy sector on its path to sustainability. It represents 31% of global milk production and 52% of the global formal milk market according to its latest report. Implementing members are committed to tackling sustainability issues, so should have good stories to tell. 

We assessed: 

  • Agropur
  • Arla Foods
  • Dairy Farmers of America
  • Danone
  • Fonterra
  • FrieslandCampina 
  • Nestlé 
  • Saputo
  • Savencia
  • Schreiber Foods 

What we did:

We analysed and scored the sustainability content on each company website and sustainability report, across seven categories:

  • Strategy — how comprehensive is the sustainability strategy?
  • Reporting — do they report progress against the strategy? 
  • Credibility — is their reporting transparent and backed by sound data?
  • Messaging — are the sustainability messages clear and concise?
  • Liveliness — how regularly do they communicate on sustainability?
  • Multimedia — are visual elements like infographics and videos used? 
  • Social media — how regular are posts on LinkedIn and Instagram, at what level of engagement? 

Want to know which companies performed best? Download the full report here

Why we published this report:

Context was founded 26 years ago to help advise clients on strategic sustainability issues and craft compelling communications that cut through the “blah, blah, blah”. We share our analysis with all companies assessed for our reports, but only publish the five top performers and examples of best practice among the group. We regularly publish industry reports and blogs on a range of current sustainability topics. More here.

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