Dairy giant Fonterra has today announced on-farm (Scope 3) emissions reduction targets, but Greenpeace Aotearoa says the dairy giant’s proposed ‘climate roadmap’ is little more than “polishing a turd” because it contains no real measures to reduce emissions.
Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigner Christine Rose says, “Fonterra is New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter and has the third highest methane emissions of all dairy companies in the world, but it wants us to accept that it can cut emissions through mythical technofixes and offsetting with grass and scattered trees.”
The ‘NZX Carbon Insights’ report out this week showed that Fonterra produces 34% of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
“After decades of delay and denial, it’s about time Fonterra took responsibility for its impacts on climate change. But with the scale of the industry pollution and impacts of climate change, Fonterra’s plans are woefully insufficient.”
Rose notes that Fonterra’s use of a 2018 baseline for its targets is unambitious and inappropriate because this is when the dairy herd was near its peak. She also says the plan’s reliance on unproven ‘novel solutions’ is wishful thinking, and carbon capture from grass and trees is just creative accounting.
“Once again, Fonterra is failing to take meaningful action on its huge contribution to climate change. It’s one thing to announce on-farm emissions reduction targets in response to market demands, but without concrete action, targets are meaningless.”
Rose notes that Fonterra’s proposed plan also fails to address the broader impacts of intensive dairying, like nitrate-contaminated drinking water and unswimmable, polluted rivers.
“We all have a right to clean drinking water and a stable climate, but there are too many cows in New Zealand, putting this at risk. The best way to protect rivers, drinking water and the climate is to reduce the dairy herd.”
“To really address Fonterra’s massive pollution problem, the dairy giant needs to shift to farming in a way that works with, rather than against nature. That means fewer cows and a phase-out of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and more plant-based, regenerative, organic agriculture.”
Greenpeace has been putting increasing pressure on Fonterra over its role in climate and water pollution, with several eye-catching protests at the dairy giant’s Auckland HQ recently. The environmental campaigners arrived with a herd of ” disaster cows” on Fonterra’s annual results reporting day in September and ‘ returned to sender’ piles of flood-damaged household goods after Cyclone Gabrielle in March to highlight the role of Fonterra’s emissions in causing climate disasters.