NEW ZEALAND – Fonterra has published its 2019 sustainability report, highlighting the dairy co-operative’s major strides towards fostering a sustainable future in areas of energy, carbon emissions and health.

In the report, the dairy processor said that it has made significant investments in co-firing biomass to reduce coal, lifting the number of New Zealand products with Health Star ratings and launching an emissions profile for every farm.

While these and other gains are pleasing and have laid some good foundations for the future, Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell says there is still a lot of work ahead.

“Our 2019 Sustainability Report is an important step towards sustainability being at the heart of our business,” says Mr Hurrell.

“Given the tough year we had, it would’ve been easy to push sustainability to one side, whereas we have in fact continued to make progress.

“We’ve underlined our commitment to the importance of sustainability and firmed up plans to do more on climate change, coal, waste and sustainable packaging.

“The report is a discussion with New Zealanders around the kind of world we want to leave for future generations and how we’re measuring ourselves against that ambition.

“I’m focused on being a part of a New Zealand dairy Co-op that’s producing nutrition in a way that cares for people, animals and our environment, and brings value to our communities.”

Carolyn Mortland, Global Sustainability Director, says this is Fonterra’s third annual Sustainability Report, and reports against its new triple bottom line of Healthy People, Healthy Environment and Healthy Business.

“Establishing our inaugural Sustainability Advisory Panel is a critical move to helping guide us as we continue to strive to be a world leader in sustainably-produced dairy nutrition,” says Ms Mortland.

People, Environment and Business

Fonterra’s sustainability approach focuses on promoting a healthy environment, healthy business and healthy people.

According to the company, more of its farms now have a Farm Environment Plan, with plans underway to introduce an emission profile in every farm by end of 2020.

“We’ve launched new packaging and waste targets, our manufacturing site emissions are down, and we piloted ways to move sites away from coal,” the company added.

Fonterra claims that it is also working together to deliver a sustainable business, such as returning US$10 billion to regional New Zealand, introducing a new fixed milk price tool, and reducing our capital spend and debt.

Mortland said that the company wants farmers to take responsibility working towards achieving a sustainable future. She added that the company would work had to achieve its goal on overall greenhouse gas emissions.

“We believe we are on track to reduce emissions in our factories by 2030, but progress will be lumpy. What our plan entails is to first become as energy efficient as possible, so that we reduce the total amount of energy we use.

“With the remaining amount of energy we deploy, we will be able to be convert to lower carbon or renewable sources at a cost effective rate.

“What is clear is that we made some good progress in a tough year and have set ourselves up for the years ahead.”