Fonterra has today (Thursday, November 9) announced that it is targeting a 30% reduction in on-farm emissions by 2030.

The New Zealand dairy co-op said that 86% of its emissions come from its farms.

The new target is seeking to reduce emissions intensity by tonne of fat and protein corrected milk from a 2018 baseline.


The announcement, made at the Fonterra annual meeting, did not detail any incentives for its farmer suppliers to adopt emissions reduction measures.

However, the co-op outlined how it expects the new target will be achieved:

  • 7% reduction through farming best practice such as feed quality and improving herd performance;
  • 7% reduction through new technologies being 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, such as deforestation.

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell said that “there is a lot of activity to reduce emissions across other markets, and the co-op needs to keep making progress to make sure it doesn’t fall behind”.

“As a dairy partner to many of the world’s leading food companies, we’re responding to growing sustainability ambitions from our customers and financial institutions, along with increasing market access, legal and reporting obligations.

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

Fonterra milk truck
Fonterra milk truck. Source: Fonterra

Fonterra chair Peter McBride told the meeting that the 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.

“There’s no one solution to reducing on-farm emissions. It will require a combination of sharing best farming practices and technology to reduce emissions – it’s both our biggest opportunity and our biggest challenge,” he said.

“We have deep empathy for the challenges our farmers are already dealing with.

“The co-op’s approach will be to work alongside farmers, not against them, as we collectively make progress towards our target, including investing in methane reduction technologies,” McBride said.

Today’s announcement follows almost a year of discussions between Fonterra and its 9,000 farmer shareholders in relation to emissions reductions.


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

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

In addition, Fonterra has released its first climate-related disclosure report, identifying risks and opportunities related to climate.

New Zealand is the first country in the world to pass a law introducing mandatory climate-related risk reporting, with it becoming mandatory next year for around 200 New Zealand companies, including Fonterra.