We’re creating dairy goodness in a sustainable way. 

Every day our cows roam freely on lush, green grass out in the natural sunshine – just as nature intended. As a result, we’re proud that our farm emissions are some of the lowest in the world. 

But it’s no accident that our milk has one of the lowest on-farm carbon footprints in the world.

Our farmers put in a lot of hard graft to make sure their farms are as productive and efficient as possible.  With healthy cows grazing on green pastures, reducing nitrogen loss, and by using the best farming practices, Fonterra farmers are working to reduce their carbon footprint.

But we are not stopping there as we are committed to making the best dairy goodness in a way that regenerates our farms and the environment. This means less impact on our natural resources and working towards a better future for generations to come. 

Learn more about what we’re doing to address climate change.

Why our farms are so much more carbon efficient

  • The land we farm naturally on

  • Long sunshine hours and plenty of rainfall

  • Healthy grass and fertile soil

  • We care for our animals

  • Powered by renewable energy

The land we farm naturally on

Healthy grass means healthy cows. At Fonterra we’re passionate about grass and we employ experts to help advise us on how to grow the healthiest grass for our cows. Our climate is ideal for growing healthy green grass with plenty of rainfall and lots of sunshine. 96% of our cows’ diet is grass, with a small part made up of imported feeds.


Long sunshine hours and plenty of rainfall

Aotearoa New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where cows can graze on grass almost all year round and spend most of their time outside in the fresh air.  In fact, our cows spend more time on pasture than anywhere else in the world. We bask in sunshine – with many places receiving over 2000 hours of sunshine a year. Coupled with lots of rain and freshwater, this creates the ideal conditions for growing lush, green pastures where our cows wander and eat. This means we can make the use of natural resources to support farming systems, and minimise the use of fertiliser and feed.

Healthy grass and fertile soil

New Zealand typically has young, free-draining soils, which can result in lower greenhouse gas emissions from farmland. High grass growth in New Zealand also results in lower fertiliser use and less nitrous oxide emissions. 

We care for our animals

Our cows are part of our family. It’s our care and kindness that creates our good milk. The high health and welfare of New Zealand cows means they live longer productive lives. We have low use of antibiotics, and we have some of the lowest somatic cell counts in the world, giving us high quality milk. None of our cows are given hormones to produce extra milk as this activity is banned within New Zealand dairy farming.  

Powered by renewable energy

Our New Zealand farms have relatively low emissions from energy use thanks to our renewable energy sources. A high proportion of our electricity in New Zealand comes from hydro, geothermal and wind.

* The on-farm carbon footprint for Fonterra milk production in New Zealand is 0.91 kg CO2-e/kg FPCM[1] which is approximately 1/3rd the global average for milk production (reported at 2.5 kg CO2-e/kg FPCM by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, 2018)[2]. The on-farm carbon footprint for our New Zealand dairy refers to the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (which includes primarily carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide), produced up to the farm gate (before the milk is collected, processed and distributed). This factors in biological emissions from the animal, energy used on-farm, any fertiliser or feed for the cows, and land-use change. Fonterra is committed to further reducing emissions, on-farm and in our manufacturing operations.