Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Pioneering climate action centre open for business

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World-leading public-private partnership invests in methane-inhibiting agritech.
Centre for Climate Action executive director Wayne McNee says the joint venture is focusing on getting tools into farmers’ hands to mitigate their climate impact.
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The Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions has made its first investment in methane-inhibiting technology, spending  almost $1.8 million on Ruminant BioTech.

The New Zealand start-up is in the process of developing a slow-release, biodegradable methane-inhibiting bolus that has the potential to reduce methane emissions from dairy and beef cattle by over 70%.  

Initial trials are promising, indicating the bolus could deliver significant reductions in methane emissions from pasture-based farming, with trials indicating potential for reducing methane emissions for up to six months.

The Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions (CCAAE)  is a world-first investment fund established between the government and major agribusiness companies following last year’s Budget, to help pasture-based farmers in New Zealand reduce their agricultural emissions by 30% by 2030.

The CCAAE’s role is to help take the pressure off NZ farmers by making sure that they have equitable access to affordable and effective tools and technology to cut their methane and nitrous oxide emissions, while maintaining efficiency, production and profitability. 

Fifty percent of the joint venture is owned by the government through the Ministry for Primary Industries, an the rest of its shareholders are ANZCO Foods, Fonterra, Rabobank, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms and Synlait.

It has also appointed a board of directors, chaired by Sir Brian Roche. Joining Sir Brian on the board are Jessie Chan, Sir Neville Jordan, Greg Murison and Fraser Whineray.

The CCAAE’s executive director, Wayne McNee, said it is focused on getting tools into farmers’ hands and it brings together large agriculture players with expertise and capital in a way that’s never been seen before. 

The CCAAE’s shareholders “have access to over 70% of New Zealand’s farms, which will make it easier to accelerate the adoption of emissions reduction tools on farm”, he said.  

“Our shareholders are committed to ensuring [the CCAAE] is commercially led, informed by science, and investing in and developing practical tools to reduce agricultural emissions.

“We also recognise the importance of intergenerational stewardship (kaitiakitanga) of the land and the key role te ao Māori beliefs, values and aspirations will play in the success of the joint venture.”

McNee said the CCAAE must be a problem solver and value creator, with its shareholders having invested in it because it is working to solve the emissions challenge for farmers.

“Farmers will need at least two to three proven tools and technologies in widespread use by 2030 to meet our ambition of a 30% reduction in methane and nitrous oxide emissions. That’s why the [CCAAE] is initially focused on investing in technologies that are already showing the most potential to have the most impact on emissions reduction for our pasture-based farmers.”

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