Thursday, July 7, 2022

Environment the next focus

Environmental issues will become Fonterra’s “big agenda item” now capital structure has been resolved, according to retiring chair Sir Henry van der Heyden.

“All Fonterra forces will engage in this space,” he told former New Zealand Dairy Group (NZDG) director Hilary Webber, who urged the co-op to get on the front foot when it came to environmental concerns.

“It’s become a huge risk, we need to get on to it,” she said. “We need to push the economic/environmental trade-off.”

Van der Heyden said he believed Fonterra had been “a bit slow” in addressing the issue but if all its farmers pushed in the same direction the problems could be overcome.

Chief executive Theo Spierings said time had been needed to do homework on the issue but Fonterra would be coming to farmers early in the year asking questions such as what compliance and non-compliance meant.

“We should look each other in the eye,” he said. “If we don’t have the debate there’s going to be a bigger issue.”

Former Federated Farmers Dairy chair Lachlan McKenzie said he believed regional councils were taking the wrong focus as 75% of NZ rivers were phosphate (P) limited not nitrogen (N) limited.

“Please look at the science.”

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