The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, Rosemont, Ill., released two new resources to advance the industry’s ability to track, improve and communicate sustainability performance and progress across the supply chain.

The resources build on the dairy industry’s commitment to transparent and credible sustainability reporting and include:

• The draft “Stewardship and Sustainability Guide for U.S. Dairy," a voluntary framework for tracking and communicating progress, which has undergone a thorough review process by representatives from across the dairy industry and is now available for a 60-day open stakeholder consultation period.

• The 2012 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report, the industry’s third annual report dedicated to reporting progress toward its sustainability goals.

“Our announcement today showcases another step taken by the dairy industry toward sustainability leadership,” says Barbara O’Brien, president. “These tools will provide clear, science-based information to the growing number of consumers who want to understand the environmental impact of the products they buy.”

The Stewardship and Sustainability Guide for U.S. Dairy identifies the most important indicators for assessing dairy sustainability and communicating results. The indicators are based on scientific life-cycle assessment studies commissioned by the Innovation Center, and the practical experience of industry members and other experts from non-governmental, academic and government organizations. The guide has been through an extensive and collaborative industry-wide process of testing, piloting and refining content, and incorporates initial input from dairy producers, cooperatives and dairy processors.

“This guide allows dairy farmers, like my family, to voluntarily self-assess our environmental footprint,” says Brian Medeiros, co-owner of Medeiros & Son Dairy, Hanford, Calif. “For our dairy, we see exceptional value in using the guide in conjunction with tools like Farm Smart to help pinpoint opportunities for improvement that make good business sense and help us continue to be good stewards of our natural resources.”

Highlights of the 2012 industry-wide efforts featured in the Sustainability Report include:

• Completion of four years of research and new tools to help the industry measure the environmental, social and economic sustainability from farm to table.

• Sustainability strategies in action across the dairy supply chain.

• The second annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards.

Both resources are available at