Going beyond carbon-neutral

Queensland’s family-owned Maleny Dairies recently announced it will become the state’s first carbon-positive dairy business.

“We’re fourth-generation farmers and we’ve been able to do that because the land and the environment have been good to us,” Maleny Dairies’ Sally Hopper said.

“We want to nurture those surrounds so we are becoming more proactive in how we operate in a sustainable way.

“This isn’t just about us becoming carbon-neutral. We asked why couldn’t we lead the way with our factory becoming carbon-positive?

“But this is only the start of the journey for Maleny Dairies. There is more to sustainability than carbon emissions so we will explore every element of our operations to understand better how we can benefit the environment.

“The good news for our customers is clear — there will be no change to our prices and no change to the great taste of our products. Every purchase will make a difference with the environment.”

Maleny Dairies’ history reaches back to 1948 when the Hopper family began farming land on the outskirts of the town’s commercial centre.

The business took a significant turn in 2002 when Maleny Dairies expanded and began purchasing milk from other farmers in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Maleny Dairies now engages with farmers from Samford to Imbil, and says it provides a higher average price for milk than rival factories to ensure farmers keep their “herds healthy and their farms viable”.

“The history of Maleny Dairies has been one of doing the right thing and looking at more than just the bottom line,” Mrs Hopper said.

“Our customers want to support businesses that are environmentally friendly, especially local businesses.

“We have the agility to make this happen and then further develop our whole-of-business approach.”

Maleny Dairies will become carbon-positive with the purchase of carbon offsets beyond the usual requirement to become carbon-neutral. However, the company will also begin work across its operations to reduce its carbon footprint including through energy and water use.

Product labels have been altered to reflect the company’s commitment.

“We first began understanding our environmental impact through the help of the Ecobiz program run by the Queensland Government and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland,” Mrs Hopper said.

“This started us along the path to better understanding sustainability and what it can mean for Queensland businesses.

“It’s the path that we want to take supported by knowing that our customers are also on board.”