Improving the environmental performance of sheep farming could help combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and maximising ecosystem services. It could also promote the socio-economic sustainability of local supply chains, adding value by connecting products with the environment and land use and enabling business diversification into areas such as eco-tourism.
SheepToShip LIFE seeks to contribute in a practical way to EU climate change objectives by helping to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from the sheep farming sector and dairy supply chain in Sardinia. The main objective of the project is to reduce by 20% in 10 years greenhouse gas emissions (nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide) from the Sardinian livestock sector and sheep industry, with an annual rate of reduction equal to about 3 500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
The immediate objectives of the project are:
- Encouraging environmental improvements of production systems in the sheep sector and demonstrating the environmental, economic and social benefits deriving from eco-innovation in the dairy supply chain and sheep farming sector;
- Promoting the implementation of environmental policies and rural development, guided by the life-cycle approach, and aimed at enhancing the environmental quality of local sheep’s milk and cheese supply chains; and
- Increasing the level of knowledge and awareness of stakeholders and the general public regarding the environmental sustainability of products made from sheep’s milk and their contribution to the mitigation of climate change.
SheepToShip LIFE is aligned to the Europe 2020 strategy and in line with EU policies and regulations in terms of combating climate change, environmental protection and sustainable development. It demonstrates strategic and methodological approaches to develop knowledge for estimating and monitoring the mitigation measures of climate change, and applying good practices and solutions for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the sheep sector in Sardinia.
Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following results:
- Development of a common methodology for analysing the life-cycle of sheep’s milk supply chains. This will be used to determine the environmental impact of the sheep’s milk business in Sardinia, including the impacts and the environmental hotspots of the life-cycle of Sardinian PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) sheep’s cheese;
- Identification, for each type of production system, of the optimal management strategies needed to reduce environmental impacts;
- Production of a manual on good practices for sheep farming for the mitigation of the sector’s environmental impact;
- Production of a manual on good practices for dairy businesses using sheep’s milk for the mitigation of their environmental impact;
- A plan for improving the environmental performances of 10 sheep farms and three sheep dairy businesses through the introduction of low-input techniques compatible with maintaining quality standards of products;
- A 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of the farms and businesses selected;
- Engagement with stakeholders to drive eco-innovation and environmental improvement of sheep farming techniques and industrial cheesemaking processes;
- Implementation of an Environmental Action Plan for the sheep sector;
- Interactions between research centres, local authorities and the private sector in the implementation and development of strategies for climate change mitigation in agriculture and the food industry;
- Engagement with target groups and stakeholders through media including a project website, social media, videos and press releases;
- Promotion of the project at eight international events; and
- Collaboration agreements with national and international organisations.