Nestlé and Fonterra to open New Zealand’s first net zero dairy farm

Nestlé and Fonterra join forces to create New Zealand’s first commercially viable net zero carbon emissions dairy farm. 

The farm will be operated by co-partner Dairy Trust Taranaki with the aim of reducing emissions by 30 per cent by mid-2027 and 100 per cent over the next 10 years. 

Designed to investigate each aspect of farm operations to assess emissions, the 290-hectare property is surrounded by Fonterra’s Whareroa site on Lake Taupo.

Miles Hurrell, CEO of Fonterra, said partnerships like this help both Fonterra and New Zealand lead the way in sustainable nutrition on a global scale. 

“New Zealand already provides some of the most sustainable nutrition in the world through its pasture-based dairy system. This new partnership will look at ways to further reduce emissions, increasing the country’s low-emissions advantage over the rest of the world.

“Part of our strategy is to lead in sustainability and we aspire to be net zero by 2050. We know we will make bigger gains, for both the Co-op and country, by partnering with others. Working with partners such as Nestlé is our best opportunity to create innovative solutions to local and global industry challenges,” said Hurrell. 

Lessons learned on the farm will be shared with local farmers, who can implement techniques and technologies to remain economically viable while reducing overall emissions. 

Jennifer Chappell, CEO of Nestlé New Zealand, said the Taranaki farm is part of Nestlé’s global efforts to 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. 

“For this reason, we have over 100 pilot projects with partners around the world, including in New Zealand, and 20 farms already striving towards the ambition of net zero emissions. Working towards a net zero farm means looking at all aspects of the farm, from cow nutrition to sequestering carbon. 

“We will share what we learn on the journey across the dairy industry, with the goal of ultimately mainstreaming on-farm practices that will reduce the climate impact of the dairy industry. This will contribute to Nestlé meeting our goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, including reducing our emissions by 20% by 2025 and 50% by 2030,” Chappell said.

The Fonterra and Nestlé partnership will include a greenhouse gas pilot program to support participating farms in implementing changes to lower on-farm emissions. The pilot will start with about 50 participant farms and will scale up over the next three years. 

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