Fonterra commits to reduce coal use

By Richard Blank

Dairy co-operative Fonterra has upgraded its sustainability targets, including bringing forward the timescale of its coal targets by 11 years.

Targets include a 30% reduction in manufacturing emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050; a 20% reduction in manufacturing water use by 2020 and 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025.

Robert Spurway, Chief Operating Officer for Global Operations, said: “One of the emerging themes in our strategy review is that sustainability will be at the heart of everything we do. As part of this, we want to step up our efforts to help New Zealand transition to a zero-carbon economy. Our farmer owners are already some of the most efficient producers of milk in the world. We need to match them in making sure our manufacturing operations and wider supply chain are as efficient as possible.


As part of its coal strategy, the company has called an immediate halt to the installation of new coal boilers. Fonterra currently derives about 40% of its current processing energy from coal, with the rest coming from natural gas, electricity and wood.

“Transitioning Fonterra’s sites away from coal requires a staged approach,” said Spurway. “We’re determined to go as fast as we can but there are a number of practical challenges we have to overcome. For example, right now New Zealand’s energy infrastructure in some parts of the country simply isn’t set up to handle our requirements. Either there aren’t alternatives to coal available or, if there are, they are not at the scale needed. There are also cost challenges. Transitioning to cleaner fuels will require additional investment and we need to balance this with remaining competitive. It’s right to take a staged approach. We know we can’t do it alone. More can be achieved through partnerships and business working together, like the Climate Leaders Coalition and Sustainable Business Council, to find ways to achieve a zero-carbon economy.”


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