About

Fonterra is a global dairy nutrition company owned by 10,000 farmers and their families. Read about our company and about our farmers and markets.

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Getting out of coal

If you live in New Zealand, you probably know we’re pretty big for a Kiwi business. 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 have set a target of net zero emissions for our operations by 2050, because tackling climate change is a critical issue and we are committed to doing our part to help New Zealand meet its international climate commitments.

Today, roughly a third of our sites rely on coal as their main source of energy. Making the change away from coal isn’t as simple as flicking a switch. In the South Island, for example, there are no gas or feasible alternatives available and so we rely on the use of coal in our plants to process our farmers milk.

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 announced we won't be installing any new coal boilers or increasing capacity to burn coal

  • We’re electrifying our Stirling site in Otago. By moving to electricity, coal use will be reduced by just under 10,000 tonnes per year (the equivalent weight of 122 Boeing 737 800’s).
  • Our Brightwater site near Nelson has switched to co-firing biomass, helping reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent, or about the same as taking 530 cars off the road.

  • We’re trialing fuelling our Te Awamutu site with woodchips, which could reduce our carbon emissions by around 84,000 tonnes per year, or about the same as taking 18,500 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. 

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.