SPI of the month: The dairy supply chain, green innovation and climate change in Trento, Italy

14. December 2023

How can the dairy supply chain become more sustainable? With their SPI (Science-Policy-Interface) “Decarbonising dairy production” the VISIONARY team from the University of Trento is focusing exactly on this issue. To find out how to better promote production paradigms that are environmentally responsible, economically viable, and socio-culturally aligned, the SPI investigates the barriers preventing the shift to greater sustainability.

Bringing together all relevant stakeholders from the dairy supply chain in the autonomous province of Trento with governmental entities and private enterprises, the SPI looks at the effects that climate change has on dairy farming and vice versa. An additional focus lies on the role that green innovation plays in the transition to a more sustainable supply chain, and factors that could facilitate its adoption. At the first meeting held in June 2023, participants identified some of the most pressing issues regarding the negative environmental impact of the dairy supply chain: pollution from transportation, production processes, management of manure and animal waste, and enteric fermentation. Discussing ways of how to improve the situation, stakeholders suggested focusing on strengthening the cooperation between major agricultural supply chains within the region to establish agreements to use organic manure from the dairy sector in the production of other supply chains, and improve energy efficiency by, for example, installing photovoltaic panels and processing raw materials into derivatives. The use of precision agriculture in the context of animal diet and manure management has also been highly supported among the stakeholders as a way of facilitating more sustainable agricultural practices.

The SPI accompanies two case studies on climate change and financial policy instruments.