A Report by the ICOS Climate Change Working Group. ICOS represents over 130 co-operatives in Ireland – including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts – whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of €14 billion, with some 150,000 individual members, employing 12,000 people in Ireland, and a further 24,000 people overseas.
The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) established a Climate Change Working Group in 2016 following the adoption of the Paris Agreement. This report is a result of discussions held by the Working Group with a range of external experts involved in climate change policy, science and research.
The overall purpose of the report is to equip co-operative directors with a strong
understanding of the strategic challenge posed by climate change. The report also outlines a set of recommendations for the Government, state agencies and wider industry to enable Irish agriculture and in particular the Irish dairy sector to make real progress towards a low carbon future. Additionally, the report demonstrates the sustainability credentials of the Irish dairy sector and its capacity to develop in a sustainable manner supporting family farms and employment opportunities in rural areas.
Globally the carbon metrics of Irish agriculture and the economic value of dairy to Ireland is unrivalled. That said, the dairy industry acknowledges its responsibility to develop in the post quota era in a manner that protects the environment and, as an industry, we fully adhere to the principle of sustainable intensification.
The report outlines the role of co-operatives in delivering sustainable growth and reviews the development of public policy related to climate change and agriculture. The sustainability credentials of the Irish dairy sector are outlined in detail and the importance of fostering knowledge sharing is explained. Finally, a set of recommendations are put forward endorsed by the Working Group and the Board of ICOS.