Fonterra Raises Awareness of Dairy Climate Action this World Milk Day

This World Milk Day, Fonterra is rolling out Cow Codes, a campaign to raise awareness globally of the farmer-owned dairy Co-operative’s sustainability and innovation initiatives to help reduce emissions. 

This World Milk Day, Fonterra is rolling out Cow Codes, a campaign to raise awareness globally of the farmer-owned dairy Co-operative’s sustainability and innovation initiatives to help reduce emissions.

Fonterra has an ambition to be net zero emissions by 2050 and is investing around US$1billion in sustainability projects over the next decade to further reduce its climate impact.

With a presence of more than five decades in South East Asia, the Fonterra Co-op is behind some of the region’s favourite dairy brands such as Anlene, Anmum, Anchor and Fernleaf, delivering great tasting, high-quality dairy nutrition for South East Asian consumers.

“SEA continues to emerge as an international hotspot for dairy demand,” says Susanne Arfelt, Managing Director of Fonterra’s South East Asia business. “We’ve seen that sustainability is increasingly top of mind for consumers and customers here - they want to know where their food comes from and the environmental impact it leaves.”

“The good news is at, one third lower than the world average, our New Zealand farms already have the unique position of having the lowest carbon footprint in the world and we’re not stopping there.”

World Milk Day highlights the work that is being done by the sector to accelerate climate action and contribute to global ambitions to tackle climate change.  

For Fonterra, a unique QR Cow Code named Chloe fronts its campaign and is designed using a cow’s distinctive black and white pattern. Chloe will appear in cities across the world, making people aware of Fonterra’s ambitions to be a leader in sustainable dairy.

Scanning Chloe’s QR Cow Code will lead people to a portal featuring educational and fun information around how Fonterra and its farmers are accelerating a more sustainable dairy farming model that is better for the environment.

This starts with New Zealand’s unique low-emissions, pasture-fed dairy system and extends to innovation efforts such as partnerships exploring how dietary additives including seaweed and ‘Kowbucha’ can reduce methane emissions.

“While we’re one of the lowest emissions producers of dairy in the world, we know we need to do more to address the methane challenge,” says Arfelt. “The aim of Cow Codes is to show how Fonterra is playing a lead role in developing and trialling solutions to potentially reduce dairy emissions.”

Fonterra uses pasture-based farming methods where grass-fed cattle roam New Zealand’s farms for 350 days of the year. This leads to well cared for, healthier cattle that live longer and use less vital resources like water and energy, compared to other methods.

“Our mission is to be part of the solution on climate warming by reducing our methane emissions further,” added Arfelt. “By showing the world how we are tackling the problem we hope to demonstrate that the dairy industry can actually contribute towards a resilient, low emissions economy whilst continuing to provide the nutritious goodness of dairy to the world,” says Arfelt.

“When it comes to the South East Asian consumer, we’ve found that sustainability is largely about Nutrition and Cared for Cows, she says. “Consumers here want to know how sustainability drives better product nutrition for ‘me and my family’. They know that environmental care delivers better product nutrition, taste and quality.”

Fonterra also has low use of antibiotics in dairy cows, and some of the lowest somatic cell counts in the world, creating high quality milk. No Fonterra cows are given hormones to produce extra milk - in fact, this practice is banned in New Zealand dairy farming.

Each Fonterra farmer has a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions profile for their farm, a tool that allows them to know exactly where their emissions are coming from for continuous improvement.

New Zealand’s natural pasture-based farming approach helps it to achieve one of the lowest on-farm carbon footprints, which is approximately one-third the global average.

Fonterra’s four key emissions reduction programmes are:

o   Kowbucha​ – with AgResearch and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, Fonterra is working to tap into its large collection of dairy cultures to create new dairy.  fermentations called Kowbucha, which could inhibit the methogens that create methane in cows.​

o   Seaweed​ – with Australian organisation Sea Forest, Fonterra is working to understand if emissions can be reduced by incorporating seaweed into a cows’ feed.​

o   Plantain​ – with MPI and DairyNZ, Fonterra has expanded a promising trial with Nestle to include plantain in a cow’s diet to reduce the amount of nitrogen produced, reducing carbon emissions and improving freshwater quality.​

o   DSM​ – with Royal DSM, a global science company, Fonterra is testing whether DSM’s feed additive product Bovaer, which reduces methane emissions from cows by over 30% in non-pasture-based farming systems, can do the same in New Zealand’s pasture-based farming system.