The three-day world dairy summit starting in Auckland on Monday will focus on sustainability, with a conference on the final day dedicated to environmental issues.
Run by the International Dairy Federation (IDF), the conference will update research covering climate change, carbon footprinting, water footprinting and reuse/recycling.
The conference will start with a keynote speech from New Zealand scientist, Professor Martin Manning, of Victoria University, who will canvass the latest climate science and the direction that the dairy sector needs to take.
"To be sustainable, this sector needs to become adapted in ways that are consistent with the increasing pressures on our environment and threats to its stability," said Prof Manning, who is director of the Climate Change Research Institute in Wellington.
"Two key factors for this are the need for better approaches to water management and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions."
Other papers will probe better management of water use and carbon emissions, with some presenters explaining how to approach water accounting and ways to calculate water footprints.
"The dairy sector needs to improve with respect to water usage," said Australian academic, Dr Sven Lundie, a specialist in sustainability at the University of New South Wales.
"Like carbon footprint methodology, there is a need for a consistent global approach that is in line with international standards. In many ways, water usage is potentially more important than carbon emissions, as water - or lack of it - can have a direct and immediate impact on peoples' lives".
Nestle executive Dr Hans Johr, will discuss sustainability and the dairy supply chain in the 21st century during the first two days of discussion on dairy policies and economics.
He will look at sustainability through food security and the high nutritional value of milk, with an emphasis on sustainability at farm level, which has high impacts on water footprints and greenhouse gas emissions .
"In order to improve, a farm must be assessed in a holistic approach on environmental, social and economical aspects, all of which are equally important to ensure long-term, sustainable production," said Dr Johr.