Acceptance of a Sustainability Standard: Evidence from an Empirical Study of Future-Oriented Dairy Farmers

Henrike Luhmann, Christian Schaper, Ludwig Theuvsen


As a major agricultural subsector, milk production plays an important role in the EU 28. Political decisions such as the aboli-tion of the milk quota system in 2015, highly volatile milk prices and fierce international competition have led to challenges for both farmers and dairies and a need to improve competitiveness. The concept of sustainability in the form of a produc-tion standard can be seen as a means for both dairy farmers and dairies to gain competitive advantages and meet stake-holders’ demands. Farmers’ acceptance of a sustainability standard is an important factor for its successful implementation. Therefore, future-oriented farmers are an important target group for dairies. This study investigates future-oriented dairy farmers’ acceptance of a comprehensive sustainability standard and, based on their responses, categorizes farmers into three different clusters: ‘halfhearted sustainability proponents’, ‘highly dedicated sustainability proponents’ and ‘profit-oriented sustainability refusers’. Further analysis provides insights into the determinants of farmers’ acceptance of a sus-tainability standard. The results of this study provide manifold starting points for deriving managerial implications for dair-ies and the implementation of sustainability standards.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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