New Zealand's farmer-owned co-op Fonterra announced that it has set an emissions reduction target of 30% for its milk suppliers.

The co-op is targeting a 30% intensity reduction in on-farm emissions by 2030, from a 2018 baseline, which will see it further reduce the emissions profile of its products.

Just over 85% of Fonterra’s emissions come from on-farm and the new target is seeking to reduce emissions intensity by tonne of fat and protein-corrected milk collected by Fonterra.

Fonterra also released a climate roadmap and voluntary climate-related disclosure report in order to reach its targets.

Fonterra expects this new target will be achieved through a number of ways:

  • 7% reduction through farming best practice, such as feed quality and improving herd performance.
  • 7% reduction through novel technologies that it is developing through AgriZeroNZ, the joint venture between agribusiness and government working to find a solution to methane, and other partnerships.
  • 8% reduction through carbon removals from existing and new vegetation.
  • 8% from historical land-use change conversions to dairy.
  • Variation

    Fonterra chair Peter McBride added that the co-op's overall on-farm emissions reduction target would affect each farm differently.

    “There is significant variation within and across farming systems when it comes to emissions intensity.

    "We are confident that we can make solid progress towards our target by working together and sharing information farmer to farmer," he said.

    He said that there’s no one solution to reducing on-farm emissions, adding that it will require a combination of sharing best farming practices and technology to reduce emissions.

    Fonterra says the target comes after close to a year of discussions with farmers about why it is needed and how the co-op will work with them to achieve it. It says the methodology will continue to evolve alongside the science that supports the changes.

    Climate roadmap

    Fonterra also launched its climate roadmap, which is a plan that outlines the actions the co-op will take towards its 2030 targets and ambition to be net zero by 2050.

    Earlier this year, Fonterra lifted its emissions reduction targets for its manufacturing and operations. This new target completes the package.

    In addition to this, the co-op has voluntarily released its first climate-related disclosure report.

    This report identifies risks and opportunities related to climate and helps the co-op plan for the future.

    In making the announcement, Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell said New Zealand farmers are some of the most emissions-efficient suppliers of dairy at scale, but work needs to continue to maintain this position.

    “Our collective efforts to reduce emissions - from on-farm, across our operations and by our R&D teams - will help futureproof Fonterra, supporting our ambition to be a long-term sustainable co-op for generations to come,” Hurrell said.