Second Fonterra sustainability report confirms industrial dairying unsustainable

Fish & Game is welcoming Fonterra’s second ever sustainability report in 17 years on its environmental performance, saying it shows the corporate dairy giant is still scrambling to respond to public demand for better water quality. 

Key lowlights from the report are:

  • Ninety per cent of supplying farms have no environmental plans tailored to the specific risks an opportunities on their farm.  Note Fonterra did meet their 10% target (page 50).
  • The lack of acknowledgment that achieving 99.6% stock exclusion from ‘defined water’ ignores many rivers and streams (page 50). See attached picture taken last week.
  • Seventy five per cent of farms do not have documented riparian management plans.
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Cows standing in a waterway photographed in the last week (Photo David Haynes).

“This second ever Fonterra sustainability report needs to be read in conjunction with some of the serious problems uncovered recently such as the increasing nitrate contamination of Canterbury rural communities drinking water and environmentally damaging winter feeding practices,” says Fish & Game Chief Executive Martin Taylor.

“What is absent in the report are statements from Fonterra that we need to use far less fertiliser, far less water, stop environmental damaging winter feed practices, and reduce the number of cows.

Heavy stocking turns intensive winter feeding paddock to mud FGNZ7870

Heavy stocking turns intensive winter feeding paddock to mud.

“It would also be good to have Fonterra say that they accept that there needs to be decisive change to environmental regulations immediately to stop the further decline in water quality.  

“We would also welcome any move by Fonterra to start paying a premium to those farmers who are doing the right thing by the environment and paying less to those who are slow to change.”

Until Fonterra accept mandatory regulations and support meaningful change within the next five years then all of their glossy reports and multimillion-dollar PR campaigns are just a distraction to convince the public everything is okay, Mr Taylor says.

“Public patience has run out and the corporate dairy industry is now trying to catch up and rescue its credibility.”