Phase two of Eblex's environmental Roadmap is proof of exactly why the industry needs levy bodies, said Peter Morris, of the National Sheep Association. "Who's going to do this kind of work, if levy bodies don't?" he asked.
Valid sentiments indeed Eblex has really stepped up a gear with publication of its Testing the Water report, with strong, robust figures and a clear link to economic benefits for those producers who invest in reducing their environmental impact.
The only fly in the ointment, from a PR point of view, is that Eblex's report, in all its brave honesty has shown a sizeable increase in the average carbon footprint of producers. This is down to improved methodology which allows a more accurate assessment. While it's important to know exactly where we stand, we may well have to brace ourselves for attacks from the usual critics.
The simple argument that will be thrown at us is that our original figures, which we used to rubbish their claims, were not accurate, and I'm concerned it is a potential banana skin for our sector.
Duncan Pullar robustly defends his position by pointing out that measurement methods are constantly changing, and they have always used the best methods available to them.
While this argument, coupled with the report's honesty and integrity, will hold weight in intelligent quarters, it's going to be a hard point to get across to some of the less than highbrow media out there.
That said, the report is a great piece of work, building well on the previous Roadmap and showing industry is taking its responsibilities seriously.
We now look forward to Roadmap Part Three, in what Peter Morris described as a trilogy akin to Lord of the Rings, although hopefully with a better defined conclusion.
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