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Mapping of evidence on sustainable development impacts and benefits that occur in the life cycle of liquid milk - EV02067

The aim of the project work is for a review of evidence concerning the impacts of liquid milk production, processing, retailing and consumption on the environment, society and the economy. Its primary objective is to inform the "roadmap" being developed by the dairy industry and DEFRA to improve the sustainability performance of UK liquid milk.

The review's emphasis is on evidence about environmental impacts. It is well-recognised that while industries need to be environmentally sustainable to survive in the long term, this is not a sufficient condition for them to continue to exist: social and economic sustainability are also important. This review therefore also seeks to identify evidence about the social and economic impacts of milk production and consumption, and more particulalry the social and econmic implications of change in this production-consumption system.

The starting points for the project will be previous work undertaken by MBS on the environmental impacts of milk (in DEFRA project code EVO2007 and in the subsequent development of a case study on the wider sustainability implications of UK milk production and consumption) and by Cranfield University on the environmental impacts of milk production (in DEFRA project IS0205). The project will update and extend this work, which drew primarily on the techniques of Life Cycle Assesment (LCA). In particular UK processing, distribution channels and consumption patterns will be examined, and furthermore this review will consider environmental impacts that are not classically included in LCA but are affected by decisions made by dairy farmers, milk buyers and processors, and consumers: examples are biodiversity and animal welfare. For all the impacts considered, the project will seek to answer the following questions:

1. What evidence exists, and how robust and relevant to the UK is it?
2. To what extent can this evidence be related to a "functional unit" of 1 litre of milk?
3. What evidence exists about the potential for this impact to be affected (positively or negatively) by innovations?
4. To what extent does the existing evidence highlight a need for further work, and what should be the focus of such work?
Project Documents
• Final Report : Mapping of evidence on sustainable development impacts and benefits that occur in the life cycle of liquid milk   (1594k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2007

Cost: £26,848
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Manchester
Behaviour change              
Sustainable Development              
Fields of Study
Sustainable Consumption and Production