New Zealand’s two largest exporters of animal protein say being part of a global movement setting greenhouse gas emission targets boosts the credibility of NZ producers.
Kate Beddoe, the chief sustainability and risk officer at Silver Fern Farms, said its customers want to know their red meat is sustainably produced and that progress is being made to reduce emissions.
“We think the transition to a low-carbon economy is an important opportunity to create new forms of value for NZ and position our farmers as climate innovators.”
Fonterra’s director of sustainability, Charlotte Rutherford, said the science-based targets initiative (SBTi) is aligned to what customers want, and provides transparency and credibility.
Beddoe said SBTi also provides a clearly defined, science-based pathway for companies and financial institutions to reduce emissions, with targets reviewed and validated.
Globally, research is underway into the link between climate change and the role of restored nature areas, which will lead to science-based targets and guidance for companies to make disclosures in terms of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) framework.
This is a risk management and disclosure framework to identify, assess and manage the impact on natural areas.
“This is a clear direction of travel that progressive companies are fronting into and SFF is closely connected to this work,” said Beddoe.
She sees this as a further opportunity to demonstrate the attributes of NZ pastoral farming, how farmers manage their emissions and work within their natural capital to produce food and support farm biodiversity.
Fonterra’s Rutherford said Fonterra has accredited scope one and two targets and is engaging with farmers about scope three accredited targets.
Scope one emissions stem directly from company operations, scope two are indirect emissions created in the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling, and scope three are value chain emissions.
Rutherford said Fonterra’s SBTi accredited targets are aligned to what its customers are also using.
The benefits far outweigh the costs.
“Having SBTi accreditation is a ticket to the game.”
Fonterra will assess whether to be included in other SBTi targets, such as for water and biodiversity, as they are released.
“We are a leading partner of the Aotearoa Circle and are participating in a series of workshops on the TNFD.”
The purpose of the workshops is to assess the TNFD framework through a NZ lens to see how it would apply to Fonterra.
She said these aspects are already covered by The Co-operative Difference, which sets goals for milk quality and sustainability, and which includes people and community.
Any targets must align with Fonterra’s best practice but also have support from farmers and other stakeholders; demonstrate the ability to protect and create value and maintain a social licence to operate; and align with the co-operative’s ambition to lead in sustainability.