The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) recently named Mike Aquino as director of ESG (environment, social and governance (ESG)). Aquino was trained as a food scientist at Drexel University and has since held several professional positions in the food and agriculture space, including with Danone’s research and development pilot facility in White Plains, N.Y., and on the global sustainability team at General Mills addressing corporate citizenship issues such as Scope 3 emissions reduction planning and animal welfare. At IDFA, Aquino will help to manage the trade association’s work in sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and ESG policy and programming within the U.S. dairy supply chain.
Aquino earned a master’s degree in sustainability management from Columbia University and, presently, is working toward an advanced degree in public affairs at American University, where his doctoral research focuses on analysis of environmental policy and the development of the ESG space.
“We are so pleased to welcome Mike Aquino to the IDFA family to help manage and elevate our work in the ESG and environmental sustainability space,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “In a recent survey by IDFA, roughly 75% of IDFA members say they have a corporate sustainability and/or ESG strategy in place. Clearly, IDFA members are leading, and we must continue to set the pace to improve upon ESG markers for the entire supply chain. With Mike Aquino’s experience and knowledge of dairy and emerging ESG issues, I am confident IDFA will continue to support ambitious ESG efforts among our members and industry.”
Aquino commented, “With my background in dairy supply chains and my academic training in food science as well as ESG, I am very excited to join IDFA and begin collaborating with our members and stakeholders to sustainably grow this industry.”
For IDFA, Aquino will join a team of experts developing and guiding regulatory, legislative, and public affairs and communications strategies on behalf of dairy processing companies aiming to make progress on environmental, social, and governance issues facing U.S. dairy. This aligned strategy—the IDFA Sustainability Initiative—helps to position IDFA members to play a vital role in sustainable, equitable and secure food systems by nourishing people, communities, and the planet. Dairy companies are balancing the economic, social, and environmental aspects of sustainability throughout their operations. Companies are innovating for the future – finding ways to work more efficiently, develop new technologies, review sourcing options, reduce energy consumption, conserve water and recycle production waste. U.S. dairy companies are also putting people and employees at the center of their mission, helping communities thrive with more than 3 million good-paying jobs in the U.S. and through partnerships that make dairy accessible to those who need it most, including food insecure families.