Collaborating for the future at the 10th Fonterra Recycling Forum


Caring for the environment isn’t something that can be done independently – nutrition, the community and the environment are all interlinked. Solutions require both innovation and collaboration, and an eye on the bigger picture.

At the recent Fonterra Recycling Forum the Co-operative hosted seven contributors from around New Zealand to speak about their environmental and recycling endeavours, creating the opportunity to think outside the box and collaborate for the future.

Managing Director of Fonterra Brands New Zealand Leon Clement, who opened the proceedings, thanked speakers for taking the time to share in both the challenges and opportunities.

“I’m really proud of this event, it’s a great chance for stakeholders, business leaders and community groups to discuss the work we’re doing,” says Leon.

“At Fonterra, we recognise that food is at the centre of many sustainability challenges facing the world – and this gives us opportunities to work together to make a difference.

“Waste elimination, recycling and building towards a circular economy where we continually recover and regenerate resources are great examples where working alone is no longer the way forward. Instead, increased collaboration and partnerships are the way to deliver changes at the pace the world needs.”

Industry, local government and community groups all shared their ideas and celebrated their successes. Speakers included Dave Elder from EnviroNZ, Heather Saunderson from Keep New Zealand Beautiful and Rui Peng and Andy Crowe from Critical Design, all explaining their sustainability efforts in different communities around the country.

Mark Roberts, Group General Manager, Alsco New Zealand, contributed with Alsco’s sustainability journey. He says it was rewarding to share their journey and what they’ve learned with other industry and community groups.

“Collaborating across industry and along the procurement chain is an often-overlooked factor, but it brings about exciting opportunities to become more sustainable – such as in our partnership with Fonterra to reduce processing site textile waste.”

Fonterra farmer Adrienne Wilcock says waste is a societal issue, as it crosses all sectors of the economy and community.

“As the AgRecovery Chair, I found the forum hugely beneficial. It’s great to collaborate and see what’s out there, especially when exploring potential solutions to help farmers do the right thing. And as a Fonterra farmer it makes me proud that our co-operative leads these forums.

“Working in silos isn’t effective. A lot of people’s problems are the same, there’s always common ground.”

It’s a sentiment that Fonterra Environmental Manager Larisa Thathiah agrees with. She says that it’s one of the key reasons Fonterra spearheaded the initiative.

“Sharing best-practices in the sustainability space means we can work together towards the goal of a more sustainable, circular, economy,” says Larisa.

“Getting people in the same room to share innovation means detached ideas can come together to form a bigger solution; to change the way we’re working right now.”