A step in the right direction for Fonterra

In line with key themes emerging from its new strategy, Fonterra last Wednesday, April 3, announced details of its new approach to on-farm sustainability.

Fonterra and its suppliers have been challenged for a long time over the sustainability of New Zealand dairy production.

The aim of the new sustainability approach is to make it easier for farmers to know what is expected of them today and in the future, and to recognise farmers who are taking steps to produce high-quality milk in a more sustainable way.

Mike Cronin, the co-op affairs managing director, said: “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.”

The new sustainability approach will support the co-op’s emerging strategy by:
  • Recognising farmers who go beyond the minimum requirements to supply high-quality milk;
  • Improving other farms by making existing on-farm requirements easier to understand and by providing tailored, industry-leading support services;
  • Providing more information and advance notice to farmers about the company’s future aspirations so they can plan and progress towards their shared ambitions;
  • Streamlining the reporting and auditing to save farmers time and energy and to help the co-op protect its market position, strengthen its sustainability claims and drive demand for products that customers and consumers value most; and
  • Supporting farms that want to improve, while taking a firmer line with those that persistently fail to meet minimum standards, and exercising their 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.

“Our co-op’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,” Cronin concluded.