Nestlé and Fonterra, New Zealand’s largest milk producer, have partnered to develop the country’s first net zero carbon emissions dairy farm.
The ‘Net Zero Milk’ project will be the first of its kind in the country and will look to increase awareness and adoption of low carbon techniques and technologies that the wider farming sector can implement in order to decarbonise the industry.
After running for 5 years, the project will assess the new dairy farm’s total carbon output, looking to reduce emissions by 30% by mid-2027 and achieve net zero emissions in 10 years time.
“New Zealand already provides some of the most sustainable nutrition in the world through its pasture-based dairy system.” said Miles Hurrell, chief executive of Fonterra in a statement. “This new partnership will look at ways to further reduce emissions, increasing the country’s low-emissions advantage over the rest of the world.”
Globally, agriculture, forestry, and land use comprise around 18.4% of total emissions. New Zealand has the lowest carbon footprint for milk in the world, but dairy makes up about 50% of the countries agricultural livestock emissions, a quarter of which comes from dairy biological emissions (N2O and methane).
Nestlé New Zealand chief executive Jennifer Chappell said the Taranaki farm would build on the companies work around the world to help transform the dairy industry.
“Dairy is our single biggest ingredient and our vision is that the future for dairy can be net zero,” Chappell said. “To reduce our Scope 3 emissions, it’s critical we work with dairy farmers and their communities.”
Nestlé has over 100 pilot projects globally, with 20 farms working towards net zero targets. One example includes Trinkler Dairy Farm in the US. The farm aims to reduce its GHG emissions 30% by 2023 and to achieve this is incorporating energy efficiency improvements, methane digesters, advanced nutrient recovery technologies, and carbon capture and storage, among other strategies and technologies.
The food and beverage giant has set the goal of achieving net zero by 2050, halving its emissions by 2030. The company has also recently stated its desire to adopt more ‘regenerative’ agricultural practices, a term that is growing in popularity.
Unlike sustainability, which seeks to maintain systems without degrading them, regenerative practices recognise how natural systems are currently impacted and apply techniques to restore systems to improved productivity.
Fonterra already has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world, and the producer recently told dairy farmers earlier this month that it’s planning to set a target for Scope 3 emissions, the most challenging scope to reduce, as emitting activities, generally lie out of direct ownership of the company.
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