OPINION: Your old mate reckons Fonterra and its dairy farmer shareholders may well be all cock-a-hoop about the prospects of a near $8 payout this year and one north of $8 next year.
Co-firing biomass to reduce coal, lifting the number of New Zealand products with health star ratings and launching an emissions profile for every farm headline the report.
While these and other gains are pleasing and have laid some good foundations for the future, Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says there is still a lot of work ahead.
“Our 2019 Sustainability Report is an important step towards sustainability being at the heart of our business,” says Hurrell.
“Given the tough year we had, it would’ve been easy to push sustainability to one side, whereas we have in fact continued to make progress. We’ve underlined our commitment to the importance of sustainability and firmed up plans to do more on climate change, coal, waste and sustainable packaging.
“The report is a discussion with New Zealanders around the kind of world we want to leave for future generations and how we’re measuring ourselves against that ambition.
“I’m focused on being a part of a New Zealand dairy co-op that’s producing nutrition in a way that cares for people, animals and our environment, and brings value to our communities.”
Carolyn Mortland, Fonterra global sustainability director, says this is Fonterra’s third annual Sustainability Report, and reports against its new triple bottom line of Healthy People, Healthy Environment and Healthy Business.
“Establishing our inaugural Sustainability Advisory Panel is a critical move to helping guide us as we continue to strive to be a world leader in sustainably-produced dairy nutrition,” says Mortland.
Highlights from 2019 include:
- Healthy People:Fonterra working together to care for people and make a positive impact on society. Whether that’s through rolling out healthier foods, reducing staff injury rates, or serving up 30 million KickStart Breakfasts.
- Healthy Environment:Fonterra working together to achieve a healthy environment for farming and society. More Fonterra farms now have a Farm Environment Plan and every farm will have an emission profile by end of 2020. The co-op has launched new packaging and waste targets, manufacturing site emissions are down, and it has piloted ways to move sites away from coal.
- Healthy Business:Fonterra is working together to deliver a sustainable business, such as returning $10 billion to regional New Zealand, introducing a new fixed milk price tool, and reducing its capital spend and debt.
But Moprtland says there’s still a lot more work to do, such as supporting farmers in their response to climate change and doing more to bring greater gender and ethnic diversity into the business.
“We don’t shy away from the fact that we need to do more against some of our ambitious targets,” Mortland added.
“What is clear is that we made some good progress in a tough year and have set ourselves up for the years ahead.”