Thursday, 23 January 2020 08:55

Synlait unveils tree-planting scheme

Written by  Nigel Malthus
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Agricultural Minister Damien O’Connnor planting a tree at Synlait’s Dunsandel plant. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Agricultural Minister Damien O’Connnor planting a tree at Synlait’s Dunsandel plant.

Synlait Milk is establishing an industrial-scale native plant nursery at its Dunsandel headquarters as the centrepiece of a wide-ranging environmental initiative.

The programme is dubbed Whakapuāwai, which means “to cause to blossom, develop, flourish, prosper, thrive”. 

Synlait says it is the company’s commitment to restoring and regenerating native ecosystems, waterways and wetlands, flora and fauna. 

“It is about drawing people and groups together to improve water quality and restore biodiversity and re-establish mahinga kai – the places and natural resources that are culturally important to Māori and our community.” 

Central to the programme is an industrial scale nursery to propagate native plants, on a 15ha site at the back of Synlait’s Dunsandel headquarters complex. It will be capable of growing more than one million native trees and shrubs annually, with the goal of planting four million native trees on farms and community land by 2028. 

Over several years the site will also be developed with a wetland to handle waste water from the factory, walkways, exercise zones and meeting pods, and eventually an education centre for staff and visitors.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently officially opened Whakapuāwai by planting a kowhai among more than 1,000 natives already planted. 

Adern congratulated Synlait on the initiative, saying the Government can only do so much.

“You are demonstrating true leadership. So I am here today just to acknowledge it and say thank you for working alongside us.”

She said she gets a huge amount of mail from children, the vast majority of which is about their fears for the environment.

Ten years ago, people questioned the science of climate change, she said.

“I remember it because I went to some political meetings at that time and I remember talking about climate change and being booed. 

“We have moved a huge way in that time and now it’s not a question of if we do something it’s how fast and how far we go.

“We’ve set our goals that we don’t want to see warming go beyond 1.5 degrees in New Zealand, we’ve embedded those targets in our legislation, we’ve progressed a world-first agreement with our primary sector on how we will deal with emissions farm by farm and no-one in the world is doing that.”

Synlait staff will also receive one paid day per year to plant natives, in support of the company commitments to its farmers and communities to land restoration in Canterbury. 

“We can’t solve environmental challenges on our own, but through Whakapuāwai we can lead by example and help connect our milk suppliers and community groups to make a real difference,” said Synlait CEO Leon Clement. 

“New Zealanders are passionate about creating a sustainable future for our country, and at Synlait, we are in an ideal position to shape the change needed in our industry. It’s our purpose to do milk differently for a healthier world, and Whakapuāwai brings this to life.” 

“Our customers, and their consumers, have rapidly shifting expectations when it comes to how we care for our planet, people and animals, and Synlait is responding to these demands to ensure a healthier world for all. It’s our business to shape a future that ensures agricultural and industry is fit for a better world.” 

The programme was launched on the day Synlait also officially opened a new electrode boiler, the first of its scale in the country and the first since the company committed to building no more coal-fired plants.

More like this

Historic FTA deal struck

Comprehensive, inclusive and high quality and providing fantastic opportunities for our exporters.

Flag it!

OPINION: Agriculture and Trade Minister Damien O'Connor tried to keep his latest overseas jaunt secret squirrel.

NZ seeks support for trade deals

Trade and Export Minister Damien O'Connor says he's had positive discussions with top EU trade politicians and officials on his trip to Europe.

Rural vaccination message from Damien O'Connor

OPINION: Rural New Zealanders and those working in the primary sector play a vital role in our response to COVID-19 and it's important they take the opportunity to get vaccinated against the virus, says Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O'Connor

Class action

The news has gone from bad to worse for a2 Milk - the company Synlait had hitched its wagon to.

National

Why should we do more?

OPINION: Managing our dairy sector's impacts inevitably attracts a range of views. Should we do more, less or stay the…

Cattle sale with a difference

Innovation, loss and resilience have brought the Singh family to the point where it is poised to honour its patriarch,…

O'Connor's overseas odyssey

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor continued his overseas odyssey in the past week with multiple meetings in the US, Europe and…

Machinery & Products

Protective tint

Now available in New Zealand, Wildcat Static Cling Tint adds a protective layer to the windows of your tractor, harvester…

New owner for stoll

German company Stoll, the well-known manufacturer of tractor front loaders and attachments that claims to be the second largest producer…

Fert spreaders get a revamp

Kuhn has updated its MDS range of fertiliser spreaders, giving farmers more options to upgrade machines as situations change, rather…

Mowers spring into action

With spring upon us, thoughts turn towards shutting up paddocks for conservation and maybe the purchase of new machinery to…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Feeling the heat

US dairy farmers have a new threat to their business - heat waves.

Class action

The news has gone from bad to worse for a2 Milk - the company Synlait had hitched its wagon to.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter