NEW ZEALAND – The leading New Zealand’s dairy co-operative, Fonterra has unveiled a new sustainability approach which recognises farmers who strive to produce high-quality milk sustainably.

Fonterra says the new approach will help equip farmers with knowledge of what is expected ‘today and in the future’ while putting sustainability at the forefront.

This will enable the co-operative to maximize its New Zealand heritage and uniqueness and position it as a leading dairy company across the globe.

Called the Co-operative Difference, the new strategy will work by recognising farmers who go beyond the minimum requirements to supply high-quality milk, care for their animals, protect the environment and support their people and community.

The model was developed to simplify and reduce complexity of requirements, provide direction on priority on-farm improvements, and increase pride in the Co-op by recognising high performing farms.

“Sustainability for our Co-op is about more than the environment. It’s about looking after our people, caring for animals, adapting to changing customer and consumer expectations, and respecting the communities and land where we live and work,” said Co-operative Affairs Managing Director Mike Cronin.

“We are proud of the global reputation Fonterra farmers have for producing high quality milk.

“Farmers have made tremendous progress on farm to date and The Co-operative Difference will help us take that good work to the next level so we can continue to create goodness for generations to come.”

It will provide tailored, industry-leading support services to farmers as well as provide more information and advance notice to farmers with a goal to achieve shared ambitions.

This could also be achieved through streamlining reporting and auditing to save farmers’ time and energy, and help the Co-op protect its market position, strengthen its sustainability claims, and drive demand for products that customers and consumers value.

The co-operative will support farms wanting to improve, while taking a firmer line with those that persistently fail to meet minimum standards and exercising its rights to suspend collection.

“Consumers and customers increasingly want to know that their food choices support a sustainable future.

“How we farm and make our products needs to reflect these aspirations so we can remain a globally competitive New Zealand co-operative,” added Cronin.

“Our Co-operative’s strong dairy heritage and pasture-based system separates us from the pack, but we must continue to earn our customers’ and consumers’ trust and loyalty.

“The Co-operative Difference will help us share the good work happening on farm through our Trusted Goodness™ commitment.”

n the six months ended January 31, revenue dropped 1% to US$6.63 billion (NZD 9.7 billion), impacted by the Consumer and Foodservice Gross Margin which declined by 7%.

The company announced that it plans to sell its 50% stake in DFE Pharma, a joint venture it established in 2006 with FrieslandCampina.