There are 25 Councillors, elected to represent the interests of Fonterra farmers. Each Councillor is elected by farmers within the ward they represent.
The role of the Council is fulfilled through a set of key functions, which are set out in clause 16 of the Fonterra Constitution. These functions include:
Council works to create a more authentic and comprehensive connection with Co-operative members.
Council aims to foster members’ engagement with their Co-operative, develop a comprehensive understanding of members’ interests, needs and perspectives, influence the Co-operative’s long-term direction, and communicate to members how the Council represents their interests and needs especially to the Board.
Council holds the Board to account, by transparently and regularly seeking Board explanation for Fonterra’s strategy and performance.
The Co-op’s separation of governance and representation means that the Council is not involved in making or delivering business decisions, but rather its role is to form a long-term view of how well Fonterra’s performance and prospects are meeting members’ expectations for their Co-operative.
Council is the guardian of the Co-operative’s shared Purpose, Values and Philosophy, which are at the heart of Fonterra’s co-operative ethos.
It is consulted on changes being proposed by the company that have the potential to affect members’ interests. It aims to promote awareness and understanding of the Co-operative Philosophy amongst Co-op members, through both regular interactions between Councillors and members and the Understanding Your Co-operative Programme.
The Fonterra Co-operative Council meets several times a year to conduct business and receive updates on relevant Co-operative matters from members of the Board and Management.
The Council’s annual work programme is determined by its core functions set out in the Fonterra Constitution and by topical issues of importance for Fonterra Co-op members.
Workstreams are progressed by three committees – Accountability, Connection, and Guardianship.
In addition to the three committees, the Council has representatives on the Governance Development Committee and four Councillors attend meetings of the Board’s Co-operative Relations Committee.
The Council also engages with other key stakeholders on matters affecting Fonterra members, and is supported by an executive team based in Auckland, New Zealand.