Dairy farmers and the wider supply chain are already actively pursuing goals to address climate change. This includes those adaptation strategies and emissions reduction opportunities that already exist for the dairy industry. However, to ensure our industry have the ongoing skills, flexibility and options in place for managing the continuing evolution of the impacts of climate change and to actively contribute to ambitious global targets, Dairy Australia needs to drive and leverage industry investment in RD&E.
This is why Dairy Australia's fourth Climate Commitments is to Invest. Actively contribute to keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees.
The management of climate change and climate risk has been a consideration in many of Dairy Australia’s programs for some time. However, there is now a clear case for a renewed and coordinated approach across the industry requiring resources, focus and partnerships.
Dairy Australia active projects - Invest
- Co-design of policies and programs to remove barriers to sustainable on–farm solutions to environmental stewardship and climate risk (ongoing)
- Dairy Matters Environmental Consumer campaign (ongoing)
- Cross sector agricultural Climate Initiative - part of Agricultural Innovation Australia joint venture (new FY21)
For more on Dairy Australia's current investments in this area see the Climate Change Strategy - Investment Summary (2021).
Political and social implications of climate change
The threat of climate change to existing ecosystems, supply chains, livelihoods and health are becoming more apparent. Bold action to address climate change is required at global scales across countries, borders and industries in order to meet global goals of keeping global warming levels below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Climate risk, climate change, pricing carbon and carbon farming are now major political and social forces that impact on all industries, including dairy. It is important dairy farmers understand these issues in the context of their business.
Understanding climate risk, the climate change debate and how it affects individual dairy businesses requires some understanding of what drives climate and weather, predictions about future climate and the greenhouse gases the dairy industry emits.
The latest series of peer-reviewed reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provide some insights into implications for Australia and wider agriculture industry, but are high level. Regular climate updates for Australia can be sought from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Climate change and directors duties
Climate change is a material risk that requires consideration by all businesses, at the executive level.
Management of climate risk will increasingly be an emerging requirement of corporate governance, access to capital and access to markets for the dairy sector. Consequently, climate risk needs to be considered like any other material risk to companies/enterprises.
Directors have a duty to consider climate risk. Fiduciary duties report notes that the risk has to only be foreseeable, not probable, for directors to have a responsibility to act.