Working together to reduce emissions
Thanks to our grass-fed, pasture-based farming practices (as well as other factors like New Zealand's temperate climate), Fonterra's New Zealand farmers are already amongst the world’s most emissions-efficient dairy producers. Our ambition is to be net zero by 2050, and we believe that taking continuous action on climate change will support resilient farming for generations to come.

On the farm, we have one of the toughest climate challenges left to solve - methane from cows. So, we are innovating and testing technologies and investing in industry-wide partnerships.

As a Co-op, we are also working to reduce our manufacturing and transport footprint.

Targets and ambitions

Fonterra's Climate Roadmap details Fonterra's 2030 targets and 2050 ambition. Our 2030 targets are aligned to the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), which means they’re aligned to limiting global warming to 1.5˚C. We are currently in the process of submitting our 2030 targets to (SBTi) for accreditation.

The emissions reductions to 2030 have been forecast to be achievable based on what we currently know and expect to become possible with the right technological developments, government policy support and on-farm practices. Please refer to our Climate Roadmap (linked above) for further details. We anticipate that our 2050 net zero ambition will be supported by the actions described on this page and ambition guiding our work and investment today. Further detail on achievability of our 2050 ambition will be presented as further information and technology becomes available.

Our emissions footprint 

We baselined our global emissions in 2018.
Total reported emissions: 26.8 Mt CO2e


Scope 1

5% (direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by Fonterra, addressing emissions from our manufacturing sites and transport).


Scope 2

2% (indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, addressing emissions from the electricity used at our manufacturing sites and offices).


Scope 3

93% (indirect emissions that Fonterra incurs outside ownership, addressing on-farm emissions).

​​​​​Where did our on-farm emissions come from in 2023? 

On Farm Plans

The first step to reduce emissions is to understand where they come from. Fonterra farmers receive a bespoke Farm Insights Report based on data that they submit to Fonterra, which provides emissions data so farmers can understand how they are trending, how they compare with other farms, and areas for improvement. Farm Insights Reports also highlight unique opportunities for farmers to improve efficiency across milk, animals and environment. 

We’re also working to have Farm Environment Plans on every farm by 2025, to help Fonterra farmer owners support soil health, water quality, biodiversity and reduce emissions.

Insights provided to farmers support them to:

  • Optimise efficient use of fertiliser
  • Minimise nitrogen loss 
  • Improve milking efficiency
  • Improve animal health
  • Adapt to a changing climate


Other ways we're aiming to reduce emissions along our value chain.

Switching to renewables on our sites.

In 2020, we achieved our target of 20% improvement in energy intensity from a 2003 baseline. As part of our commitment to stop using coal by 2037, we’re using wood pellets and wood biomass at our Te Awamutu and Stirling sites, with conversions also underway at Waitoa and Hautapu. 

Transitioning to electric vehicles.

In 2022, we trialled Milk-E, New Zealand’s first electric milk tanker. And by FY24 we are committed to transitioning one third of our 960-strong car fleet to electricity.

Innovating new technologies.  

We are developing our own novel technologies, including Kowbucha™ and testing the practicality of emerging technologies like Seaweed.

Partnering for change.

Fonterra is a major partner in AgriZeroNZ a world-first investment fund established between Government and major agribusiness companies to make sure New Zealand pasture-based farmers have equitable access to affordable and effective tools and technology to reduce their agricultural emissions, while maintaining efficiency, production and profitability.