Milk production takes place all around the world. Global demand for dairy continues to increase in large part due to population growth, rising incomes, urbanization and westernization of diets in countries such as China and India. With this increasing demand for dairy, there is growing pressure on natural resources, including freshwater and soil. WWF works with dairy farmers, industry groups, and other stakeholders in various countries to conserve and protect natural resources and habitat.
Millions of farmers worldwide tend approximately 270 million dairy cows to produce milk. Milk production impacts the environment in various ways, and the scale of these impacts depends on the practices of the dairy farmers and feed growers.
Dairy cows and their manure produce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. Poor handling of manure and fertilizers can degrade local water resources. And unsustainable dairy farming and feed production can lead to the loss of ecologically important areas, such as prairies, wetlands, and forests.
WWF envisions a global marketplace in which all dairy is produced as sustainably as possible. By working to engage dairy farmers, co-ops, companies and others in promoting the use of sustainable practices, WWF aims to transform the milk production industry.