14 November 2017

Coal Action Network (CANA) has awarded Fonterra half a tick for at least acknowledging the importance of reducing its huge coal use but describes its programme as “hardly ambitious”.

Spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons said today “CANA has been calling on Fonterra for several years to quit coal, including in several high level meetings. It’s about time they listened and took action.”

Fonterra is the second largest user of coal in New Zealand, and its coal use to dehydrate milk has been growing fast.

“Today’s announcement of no new coal boilers after 2030 is disappointingly  unambitious” said Ms Fitzsimons. “The other way of saying this is that they intend to go on building new coal boilers for another 13 years, despite the urgency of action on climate change.”

She also called for Fonterra to come clean about its plans for “co-firing”. “Some hard numbers here would help”.

“Does one truck of wood chip to 20 truck loads of coal really represent progress?” she asked.

Fonterra’s contribution to climate change needs more than a substitute fuel. It needs a systems change. Reducing emissions requires fewer cows, fed better, each producing more milk. It means value added processing, not just low value commodities like milk powder. It means milk evaporation on or near the farm, with the water returned to the land, rather than sucking our rivers and aquifers dry and carrying that water for hundreds of km. Finally, it means much less volume to process, using wood waste as the fuel.

Half a tick for recognising they have a problem. Now will the words be followed by action?