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Lee Strand Cooperative Creamery Ltd

Membership Status:

Approved until 31 May 2023



About the company

Lee Strand is a dairy cooperative society owned by its farmer shareholders and employs over 100 people across various business units. Lee Strand's main activity is processing and distributing liquid milk in the Kerry, West Limerick and North Cork regions. Established over 100 years ago in the year 1920, the co-op operated its creamery and production operations in the heart of Tralee, County Kerry.

In 1992, Lee Strand relocated to its new custom-designed production premises on a 10-acre site at Ballymullen in Tralee. In 2019, Lee Strand made a significant manufacturing investment of €2 million to launch the Tetra Rex® Bio-based carton. The revolutionary carton and cap are 100% renewable, 100% recyclable, and is made from materials that can be traced back to a plant-based source.

Key Sustainability Commitments

Spotlight Target Area: Supplier Certification / Waste

As an organisation, Lee Strand firmly believes in operating sustainably, with the company being registered to ISO 14001 since 1998, EMAS since 2000 and in 2016, Lee Strand submitted its first Origin Green sustainability plan. As milk is Lee Strand's primary raw material, it is critical that its farmer suppliers operate responsibly and produce milk in accordance with recognised and independently verified sustainable criteria. Lee Stand's strategy has been to proactively encourage and support its suppliers to engage in sustainable farming projects. This strategy has generated a culture of sustainability awareness among its farmer suppliers, as well as a communication and cooperation pipeline. Since January 2019, the company has acquired 100% of its milk from farms certified under the Bord Bia Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS). SDAS certifies that milk is produced in a sustainable manner through an ISO 17065 accredited scheme.

Exemplary Performance Target Areas

Minimum Origin Green Targets Required annually = 6

Spotlight Target Area: Community Engagement

A fundamental principle in Lee Strand’s ethos is: supporting the community, protecting the environment and it takes great pride in supporting the community in many different ways. Their Origin Green plan is led by Plant Manager James Sugrue and supported by the CEO and a cross functional team. Lee Strand was assisted in the development of their Origin Green plan by Veronica Kennelly from the Institute of Technology Tralee. 

As part of their sustainability plan Lee Strand introduced a scholarship scheme for young farmers in 2012 ensuring that future liquid milk suppliers gain the most up to date training in farm practices. The scholarship enables young farmers to study at Third Level and obtain a formal qualification in an agriculture related discipline. 

To date 9 scholarships have been awarded – 5 of those being in 2019 exceeding their targeted commitment of 2 that year. Lee Strand also provides work placement for students from the Institute of Technology Tralee and work shadowing opportunities for second level students. The company has a target of donating 6 cent for each carton of milk sold to support many community, sporting and charitable organisations and events. In 2019 they exceeded this target by donating 9.7 cent per carton of milk sold. 

Information Sessions for Suppliers

In addition, the Co-Op invests in time and effort to keep their community of local milk suppliers informed about key sustainability issues and set up a Knowledge Transfer Group Scheme to do this. Lee Strand only source milk that is from suppliers certified to the Bord Bia Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme. 

The group regularly hosts information sessions for their suppliers bringing in guest speakers to share knowledge and facilitate discussions on improving their sustainability performance by examining topics such as soil profiles and soil fertility, chlorine free detergents, animal health and nutrition and grass utilisation.

Sustainability and environmental management are key elements of the Lee Strand business model.

Gearoid Linnane, CEO


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