New Zealand Dairy Farms have the Lowest Carbon Footprint in the World

NZ milk's lowest carbon footprint confirmed by new report.

29 Apr 2021

2 min

#News #New Zealand #Sustainability

New Zealand dairy farms have the lowest carbon footprint in the world, as confirmed by the latest report from AgResearch.

The report, which was commissioned by DairyNZ, found that New Zealand's carbon footprint is 70% lower than the global average and 46% lower than the 17 other countries involved in the study (including all major milk producers).

"This is the result of our unique pasture-based farming here in New Zealand and the hard graft of our farmers, which as an employee of the Co-Op makes me feel pretty proud," says Fonterra Director of On-Farm Excellence, Charlotte Rutherford.


We've seen consumers become increasingly interested in the carbon footprint of their products, and this report confirms we're well placed to meet people's desire for food that is kinder to the planet.

Charlotte Rutherford | Fonterra Director, On-Farm Excellence

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Pathway to Net Zero Carbon Emissions


However, there's always room for improvement and we are up for the challenge.

Innovation is key when it comes to the Co-Op's strategy. This is why Fonterra has formed numerous partnerships to develop the tools and solutions to better support farmes, particularly in areas that prove challenging, such as methane emissions.

Increasing methane emissions are a major contributor to the rising concentration of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere and are responsible for up to one-third of climate warming. Though cattle are only predicted to contribute slightly less than 2% towards global warming in the next 50-100 years, (ruminant livestock) can still produce 250 to 5001 litres of methane per day.

Therefore, it has become key to ensure farmers understand their emissions profiles in an effort to continuously improve. In 2020, all Fonterra farmers received a greenhouse gas emission report specific to their farms.

While our farmer’s efforts have contributed greatly to New Zealand’s low carbon footprint, alternative solutions like Kowbucha™, seaweed and feed additives are being investigated for potential breakthroughs in reducing emissions from cows. Fonterra has also teamed up with Nestle and DairyNZ to expand a promising plantain trial to help clear waterways and further reduce on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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