NEW ZEALAND – Fonterra has partnered with the New Zealand government  to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, with a 30% reduction by 2030 from a 2015 baseline.

According to the company, the partnership was an example of how the private and public sectors could work together to accelerate New Zealand’s transition to a low carbon economy.

The zero greenhouse gas targets will be achieved by making changes at Fonterra’s manufacturing sites and adopting new technologies.

Having set an interim target of climate-neutral growth to 2030 for on-farm emissions in New Zealand, any growth in the company’s milk production will have its resulting carbon emissions reduced or offset.

Fonterra Global Operations chief operating officer Robert Spurway said the latest initiative identifies actions to reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.

“This is an exciting and ambitious partnership, which will have a material impact on climate emissions.”

“We are committed to helping New Zealand achieve its Paris Climate Agreement commitments. That’s why we’ve set new targets to reduce both our on-site and on-farm emissions.

We’ve set a target of net zero emissions for our global operations by 2050, with a 30% reduction by 2030 from a 2015 baseline,” says Mr Spurway.

According to Spurway, the company has committed to improve its energy use efficiency, as well as adopting lower emission energy sources.

This includes the introduction of biofuel into its tanker fleet, with plans to have 100 electric vehicles within its light vehicle fleet by 2019.

It is also exploring low emission energy supply options for its sites, such as electricity and wood biomass.

“We will only use coal as a last resort, with a target of no new coal boilers installed from 2030,” he said.

Fonterra also has an ambition to develop and commercialise mitigation technologies that have a positive impact on global emissions by 2050.

“New Zealand is one of the world’s most emissions efficient dairy producers. We will make the most of this position by investing in breakthrough technologies such as methane vaccines and inhibitors, low-emission feeds, and genetics that produce low-emissions animals, and then sharing them with the world,” added Mr Spurway.

Fonterra has set an interim target of climate neutral growth to 2030 for on-farm emissions in New Zealand, which means any growth in milk production will have its resulting carbon emissions reduced or offset.

Abbie Reynolds, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Council, said it’s important not to underestimate the significance of this step by Fonterra.

“Reducing agricultural emissions will be one of the biggest challenges of the transition to a low emissions economy in New Zealand.

Net zero emissions by 2050 is an ambitious and challenging target.  It shows strong leadership, and will be welcomed by many New Zealand businesses.”

Mr Spurway said transitioning New Zealand to a low emissions economy was a significant challenge and collaboration and a coordinated response would be key.

“We are committed to low emissions New Zealand and will continue to work with Government, industry partners, and our farmers to find new ways to reduce New Zealand’s emissions,” Mr Spurway concluded.