Fonterra: 30 percent less emissions by 2030

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New Zealand dairy farms have the smallest CO₂ footprint. Nevertheless, the dairy company Fonterra wants dairy farmers to reduce their emissions by 30 percent.

Fonterra is the world's largest dairy company and claims to be a pioneer in climate protection. The company recently announced an extensive sustainability program. Since 2008, the CO₂ footprint has been stable (based on kg of milk solids), but they still want emissions to be reduced.

Fonterra on the New Plan

“Yes, we are the best, but we will not remain in the pole position forever,” stated Miles Hurrell, CEO of Fonterra, at the Global Dairy Farmers Congress in Auckland, New Zealand. The headquarters of the dairy giant is convinced that reducing environmentally harmful emissions is inevitable, partly because:

- The five largest food manufacturers (Mars, Nestlé, Starbucks, Unilever, and Yum!) have announced their intention to reduce their emissions by 50 percent by 2030 or become completely climate neutral by 2050.

- Banks, insurers, and financial institutions have started asking for details about Fonterra's measures to reduce its ecological footprint. Access to financing and the associated conditions will likely depend significantly on meeting certain emission targets in the future. Eventually, farmers will probably also have to deal with this when applying for loans.

- They want a comprehensive approach to reducing emission intensity that meets the needs of customers and consumers.

Miles Hurrell, CEO of Fonterra, spoke at the Global Dairy Farmers congress in Auckland (photo: Elite Germany)

Hurrell is convinced that these ambitious goals will ultimately ensure a strong market position in the long term. The 30 percent reduction is a collective goal. Not all dairy farmers need to achieve this reduction individually. However, since 86 percent of dairy production emissions come from dairy farms, they are required to meet Fonterra's targets.

Achieving Goals

This reduction in emissions on dairy farms must be achieved in three ways:

  1. Best Practice Farming: Improved delivery of nutrients to cows, optimizing nutrient supply from fertilizers, and minimizing energy consumption.
  2. Use of New, Innovative Technologies: Such as nitrification inhibitors or feed additives for methane reduction.
  3. Better Nature Management: For example, through reforestation of difficult-to-cultivate areas.

To ensure that the goals are achieved, the dairy cooperative wants to support its dairy farmers well. Each farm will receive a customized plan, prepared by their sustainability advisors. Fonterra also hopes to accelerate the transfer of expertise to milk suppliers by participating in scientific networks and research institutions. In the next five years, as much as 50 million New Zealand dollars will flow into the AgrizeroNZ network.

Greenpeace: Completely Inadequate

According to Greenpeace, Fonterra's ambitious plan is completely inadequate and will not make a significant difference. “Fonterra is the largest climate polluter in New Zealand and has the third-highest methane emissions of all dairy companies in the world, yet it wants us to accept that it can reduce emissions with not yet fully developed technical solutions and by planting a few trees.”

Greenpeace stated that they want Fonterra to take responsibility for its impact on climate change. Due to the size of the industry and the consequences of climate change, they believe Fonterra's plans are not enough.

Article: Fonterra: 30 procent minder uitstoot in 2030 – Elite (