Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time.
We’re concerned about what it means for families, local communities, the next generation of farmers, and our planet as a whole. 

We have set science-based targets and are taking action to address climate change by reducing our use of fossil fuels in transport and manufacturing and finding ways to manage and mitigate animal emissions on farms. 

We are committed to working with others and playing a leading role in ensuring the New Zealand dairy industry remains at the forefront of low-emissions food production.


Our commitment to dealing with climate change isn’t limited to our farms. We’re investing in innovation and infrastructure to remove greenhouse gas emissions from our manufacturing sites.  

On this journey, we’ve converted the boiler at our Brightwater site to co-fire with wood pellets and transitioned our Te Awamutu site to wood pellets. 

Part of this our commitment to stop using coal by 2037.

Fonterra isn’t the only business facing these challenges. Collectively we must continue to address our use of fossil fuels in transport and manufacturing, as well as find ways to mitigate animal emissions. 

We supported New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Bill, which sets long-term targets for all greenhouse gas reductions by 2050. We’re an active supporter of He Waka Eke Noa, an innovative partnership to reduce primary sector emissions, and joined over 100 other New Zealand companies in the Climate Change Leaders Coalition.

We’re striving to do better. That’s why we’re working with methane research firm DSM, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium on ideas to tackle emissions. 

Scientists all around the world are working on ideas to reduce the methane produced by livestock, and our own Fonterra Research and Development Centre (FRDC) is exploring new ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

We invest in cutting-edge technologies to reduce agricultural emissions through the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium.

We’ve also started work with New Zealander Dr Ian Hunter at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and started work with DSM to investigate the use of their methane inhibitors with pasture-based farming.

We want to identify breakthrough technologies which can provide a step change reduction in the biological emissions produced by cows and promote such solutions globally, so they have an impact wider than the regions where we farm.

Our R&D team is looking at natural ways to stop cows producing methane in the first place.

We are using dairy cultures to create new fermentations we are calling KowbuchaTM which could potentially switch off the bad bugs that create the methane in cows. 

Its early days but initial results with KowbuchaTM have been promising. Our FRDC scientists are working with AgResearch and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium to optimise KowbuchaTM to try to create a cost effective and practical solution to reduce methane.

We have also launched a trial in Tasmania, Australia, feeding cows seaweed.

Our targets

Our climate change targets are:

50% reduction in manufacturing emissions by 2030

Net zero emissions for our manufacturing sites by 2050

No net increase in GHG emissions from dairy farming between 2015 and 2030

Why our farms are so much more carbon efficient

Low-carbon dairying
The land we farm naturally on
Sunshine and rainfall
Healthy grass and fertile soil
We care for our animals
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