Fonterra and Nestlé have announced a new partnership designed to help reduce New Zealand’s on-farm emissions, including a New Zealand first – a drive to develop a commercially viable net zero carbon emissions dairy farm.
Over the five-year project, the farm, run with co-partner Dairy Trust Taranaki, will examine all aspects of farm operations to reduce carbon with the aim of cutting emissions by 30% by mid-2027, and a 10-year ambition of reaching net zero carbon emissions.
The demonstration farm at the center of the project is a 290-hectare property surrounding Fonterra’s Whareroa site.
Dairy Trust Taranaki will work with Fonterra and industry partners to reduce total emissions on the farm, including methane, with successful solutions also being good for the farmer, good for the cow and good for the milk.
Lessons learned and activities will be shared through open days with farmers, who can then adopt the techniques and technologies most appropriate for their own farms. The practices must be economically viable and practical for farmers to adopt.
Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell said the collaboration will help both Fonterra and Nestlé accelerate progress towards their greenhouse gas emission goals.
“New Zealand already provides some of the most sustainable nutrition in the world through its pasture-based dairy system. This new partnership will look at ways to further reduce emissions, increasing the country’s low-emissions advantage over the rest of the world.”
Hurrell continued, “Part of our strategy is to lead in sustainability and we aspire to be net zero by 2050. We know we will make bigger gains, for both the Co-op and country, by partnering with others. Working with partners such as Nestlé is our best opportunity to create innovative solutions to local and global industry challenges.”
He further noted the importance of helping customers achieve their goals, as well. “Nestlé has ambitious plans, and we look forward to working together to discover systems that could help our farmer owners to continue to build on the already good base they have.”
Nestlé New Zealand CEO Jennifer Chappell said the Taranaki farm would build on Nestlé’s work around the world to help transform the dairy industry.
“Dairy is our single biggest ingredient, and our vision is that the future for dairy can be net zero,” Chappell said. “To reduce our Scope 3 emissions, it’s critical we work with dairy farmers and their communities. For this reason, we have over 100 pilot projects with partners around the world, including in New Zealand, and 20 farms already striving towards the ambition of net zero emissions.”
Working towards a net zero farm means looking at all aspects of the farm, from cow nutrition to sequestering carbon, she explained. “We will share what we learn on the journey across the dairy industry, with the goal of ultimately mainstreaming on-farm practices that will reduce the climate impact of the dairy industry.”
The initiative will contribute to Nestlé meeting its goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, including reducing our emissions by 20% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, she added.
The partnership between Fonterra and Nestlé also encompasses the launch of a greenhouse gas farmer support pilot program. This multi-year project will see enrolled Fonterra supplying farms get additional support to implement changes aimed at lowering their on-farm emissions, which could include solutions such as improved management of feed and pasture and enhanced milk production efficiency.
The opt-in pilot will start with around 50 farms and then be scaled up over the next three years.