Simply Milk will come in standard and light varieties and be the same as Foodstuffs home brand Value milks but with new labelling and higher prices to pay for the carbon offsets.
Certification for what is called carbon-zero milk has been obtained by buying credits through Toitu Envirocare, a subsidiary of Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.
The milk comes from Fonterra’s two processing plants for domestic liquids, Auckland’s Takanini and Palmerston North.
The emissions profile is broadly representative and is not calculated for any particular source farm or district.
The equivalent of 2.1kg of carbon dioxide is emitted in the production of each two-litre bottle of milk.
It varies a little from farm to farm according to feeding regime and cow efficiency and is calculated over a full season, Fonterra’s sustainability director Carolyn Mortland, said.
Liquid milk has a lower footprint than milk used for making exportable powder.
Toitu chief executive Becky Lloyd said the carbon emissions for the liquid milk include farming, production, distribution and consumption and disposal.
Credits will come from regeneration of 7.5 square kilometres of native forest near Kaikoura and renewable energy projects in India and Bangladesh.
Fonterra sustainabillity director Carolyn Mortland and Chris Anderson, Foodstuffs North Island, with the first Simply Milk to go on sale.
Toitu deals only with voluntary carbon credits like the permanent native forest sink initiative, not the compulsory Emissions Trading Scheme, in which Fonterra is already involved.
“Reaching net zero by 2050 requires all NZ businesses to start measuring and reducing their emissions now.
“Developing low-carbon technologies is vital but will take time and Fonterra and Foodstuffs North Island are demonstrating that in the meantime it’s possible to take meaningful action.”
Mortland and colleague, sustainable solutions senior manager Lara Philips, say the Simply Milk introduction will establish whether local consumers are prepared to pay for carbon offsets.
“This is starting to put some value on the sustainability initiatives of our farmers, which they have asked us to try to do.
“NZ produces milk with one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world.”
If consumers are keen then carbon-zero options will be extended to other dairy products from Fonterra Brands on the domestic market.
Philips said it is like a test market for overseas customers already interested in participating in zero-carbon schemes and reducing their environmental footprints.
“This can really help us drive more value offshore from NZ’s low-emissions in dairy products.”
Fonterra shares co-operative values with Foodstuffs and the Simply Milk introduction is a joint initiative, Mortland said.
The retail price including the carbon credits is a matter for Foodstuffs and the owners of Pak’n’Save, New World and Four Square stores.
Simply Milk would be priced midway between home brands and Fonterra’s own Anchor varieties, about $4 for two litres.