Fonterra publishes 2020 Sustainability Report

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Fonterra switched its Te Awamutu site to wood pellets, which will reduce coal use by almost 10%. Pic: Fonterra
Fonterra switched its Te Awamutu site to wood pellets, which will reduce coal use by almost 10%. Pic: Fonterra

Related tags Fonterra Sustainability GHG emissions

Fonterra said it has achieved its most encouraging sustainability results since starting annual reporting four years ago, but insists it is staying focused on what still needs to be done to reach its long-term targets.

“The progress we’ve made this year towards our three interconnected goals of healthy people, a healthy environment and a healthy business show that our strategy and customer-led operating model are delivering,”​ CEO Miles Hurrell said following the release of Fonterra’s 2020 Sustainability Report.

Its report shows improvements in all three of its core environmental metrics around greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use and solid waste to landfill for the first time since launching its first stand-alone Sustainability Report in 2017.

Fonterra said it has become the first dairy company in New Zealand to have its emission reduction targets endorsed by the UN-backed Science Based Target initiative. This means the coop’s 2030 target of 30% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, which are the emissions it directly creates and those from the energy it uses, has been approved as being in line with what the latest climate science says is needed to limit global warming to well below 2°C.

Hurrell added, “Our farmer owners have a carbon footprint of about one third of the world average, and we’re continuing to support them to adapt to change. Setting science-based targets is important and so is the concrete action we’re taking today – like providing farmers with farm-specific emissions profiles, which will help them identify opportunities for improvements, and switching our Te Awamutu site to wood pellets, which will reduce our coal use by almost 10%.”

This year, Fonterra hit its longest running target of 20% reduction in energy intensity across its New Zealand manufacturing sites between 2003 and 2020. As part of the plan to reach a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030, and ultimately net zero emissions by 2050, Fonterra is developing site-specific ‘Greenprints’ that outline the roadmap to decarbonization.

The report also highlights areas for improvement including the need to achieve better gender and ethnic diversity at leadership level and accelerate progress towards key 2025 targets such as having 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging.

Global sustainability director Carolyn Mortland said, “Our coop’s focus is on adopting regenerative principles across the business so that we’re restoring and replenishing rather than just protecting and conserving.”

Mortland said the entire process will take time, and cannot be achieved alone, but the company needs “to get it right.”

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