Thursday, July 18, 2019

Fonterra finally gets it

Milk producer Fonterra is one of New Zealand's biggest coal-users, using it to power all its South Island (and a few of its North Island) dairy factories. They'd previously "committed" to not building any new coal boilers after 2030. Now, they've brought that forward as part of a plan to cut emissions by 30% by 2030, and to net-zero by 2050. They're also planning to impose farm environment plans on their suppliers from 2025, which suggests they will be required to follow better practice to reduce methane emissions and clean up waterways, or have their milk refused.

All of this is good and welcome, but Fonterra needs to go further and rule out new natural gas plants as well. It's pretty much required by their 2050 target, but they should make it explicit. The planet can't afford gas any more than it can afford coal, and the sooner businesses accept that and commit to electrification, the better.