Getting out of coal

We’re proud to be one of the most emissions-efficient producers of dairy in the world, and we’re up for the challenge of doing better. 
With our size comes efficiencies and these help us compete on the global stage against some of the largest and most efficient companies in the world.

Our milk tankers travel over 100 million km per year, collect milk from a farm every nine seconds, deliver that milk to a factory every 24 seconds and we close the doors on a shipping container of product every three minutes. Product that goes to millions of consumers in more than 100 countries around the world.

We’re continuously looking for more efficient ways to produce and distribute this amount of food.

We aspire to be Net Zero by 2050 and are working to exit coal at the remaining six out of 29 sites where it is still used, by 2037.

We’ve made good gains with our move away from coal at our Te Awamutu, Stirling and Brightwater sites and have current conversions underway at Waitoa and Hautapu.  We’re currently investigating a range of options that could be deployed where we still use coal – hot water heat pumps, steam heat pumps, biomass conversions including with black pellets and electrode boilers. 

In its first year of operation, the Te Awamutu conversion to wood pellets reduced our emissions from coal by 11%.

We’ll need to move away from coal a little bit at a time and through innovation, collaboration and genuine commitment we know we can get there.

We are already taking steps:

  • We’ve committed to getting out of coal by 2037. 
  • We have a target of a 50% reduction in scope 1&2 emissions by 2030.
  • We have a conversion underway to wood pellets at our Hautapu site, which is due for completion by early 2024 and will reduce emissions by the equivalent of taking 6,500 cars off the road.
  • We’re transitioning our site at Stirling site in Otago to wood biomass. It will be our first site to run on 100% renewable thermal energy. By moving to wood biomass, coal use will be reduced by 18,500 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking more than 7,000 cars off the road.
  • Our Brightwater site near Nelson has switched to co-firing biomass, helping reduce CO2e emissions by 25 percent, or about the same as taking 530 cars off the road.
  • We’ve converted our Te Awamutu site to wood pellets reducing the Co-ops emissions from coal by 11% in its first year of operation. The same as taking more than 32,000 cars off the road.  
  • A new biomass boiler at the Waitoa site is expected to be up and running by November 2023 and will reduce the sites annual emissions by 48,000 tonnes of CO2e, the equivalent of taking 20,000 cars off the road. 
  • We’ve given up our mining permit at Mangatangi in the Waikato and sold nearly 50 percent of the land acquired there for coal mining (296 hectares).


Fonterra’s and New Zealand’s continued success on the world stage is reliant on a clean, sustainable environment and continuous improvement in the production and transportation of our products.