Stopping Fonterra's climate crimes

Feature story - September 16, 2009
Greenpeace activists have blocked a shipment of palm kernel animal feed from Indonesia, entering Tauranga Port and destined for Fonterra dairy farms.

Greenpeace activists block a shipment of palm kernel animal feed from Indonesia, entering Tauranga Port and destined for Fonterra dairy farms.

The 12 activists who boarded the East Ambition, several kilometers from the Port of Tauranga, locked themselves to the vessel, the anchor chain and its four cargo cranes to prevent the ship unloading. News footage shows them all holding banners which read "Fonterra Climate Crime".

Activist Jo McVeagh who locked to one of the cranes said:

"Fonterra's involvement in rainforest destruction and the massive climate impact this causes is criminal. This ship's cargo has contributed to the release of up to 364,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. That's the same as the emissions from 127,000 cars over a year. Fonterra and John Key have taken no steps to stop this climate crime which is why we're taking action today."

 The activists stopped the palm kernel cargo from beig unloaded for over 12 hours.

Fonterra came out and denied responsibility for the shipment but there is no denying that this shipment is headed for Fonterra's nationwide dairy herd.

For the last weeks all Fonterra has done is mislead the New Zealand people. It has not done its homework on the supply of palm based animal feed and has been caught out in its involvement in rainforest destruction. Greenwashing its way out of this will not work and the only option left is for Fonterra to stop the imports.

A quarter of the world's production of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) animal feed, an economic product of the Indonesian and Malaysian palm industry, was imported into New Zealand last year with the majority going to feed dairy cows. Around 95 per cent of all New Zealand dairy farms are shareholders within Fonterra

Also today on the defensive was RD1 which is a half-owned subsidiary of Fonterra. It  claimed Greenpeace's actions are damaging New Zealand's overseas reputation.

But it is Fonterra which is  putting New Zealand’s clean, green image at risk by its involvement in tropical rainforest and peatland destruction which comes at a huge cost to the climate.

Imports for palm based animal feed in 2008 would have contributed up to 20 times New Zealand's domestic air travel emissions. It is time for Fonterra to come clean on its climate crime and for John Key to put an end to the country's involvement in this destructive and unnecessary trade.

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