Pāmu is over halfway towards meeting its goal of 100% of its farms achieving Toitū carbonreduce certification by June next year.
As the largest farming group in New Zealand, Pāmu manages more than 100 farms, totalling close to 360,000ha and spanning sheep, beef, dairy, deer, forestry and horticulture.
To achieve Toitū carbonreduce farm certification, operational greenhouse gas emissions are calculated for each farm, and a plan to manage and reduce them is developed.
The certification, which meets international standards, requires detailed annual data and independent verification of the measurement and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Emissions reduction is a key driver for meeting the conditions of the state-owned enterprise’s two sustainability-linked loans.Pāmu head of sustainability Sam Bridgman said the strategy for reaching its sustainability goals has a two-pronged approach.
“For the first part, the Toitū certification gives us a clear framework and guidelines to work with each farm, to identify emission sources, where reduction opportunities are, and what we can do.
“For the second part, we are fortunate to have the scale and diversity of farming operations across the motu to test and develop longer-term solutions to emissions reduction. This in turn is of value to the wider farming community as we share our experiences and data.”
He said the process so far has highlighted the need to improve data collection and improve understanding of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Some of our existing systems have been challenged by the level of accuracy needed. Toitū has driven us to improve. In addition, we are running education and engagement sessions on greenhouse gas topics for our business and farm managers.”
Last year, Pāmu farms contributed 0.71 million gross metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and sequestered 0.3 metric metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Toitū Envirocare Kaiwhakahaere Matua chief executive Teressa Betty said Pāmu is showing real climate leadership by taking accountability and working to understand its impact across farms.
“Achieving Toitū carbonreduce farm certification requires not only measuring to international best practice but also reflects a firm commitment to reducing emissions as a mandatory part of the programme.”
An example of the steps Pāmu is taking to tackle climate changeis the partnership, through its subsidiary Focus Genetics, with research and commercial entities including AgResearch, Massey University, LIC and CRV, developing breeding stock that emit lower methane levels.
Pāmu is also focused on productivity gains and diversification, and has shifted several dairy farms to organic farms.
As part of its commitment to nurturing and restoring the land on which it farms, there is a country-wide programme of retiring marginal land, establishing a mixture of plantation or native forestry for improved carbon sequestration, and extensive waterway fencing and riparian planting.