Greenpeace takes further action on Fonterra climate crime

Press release - October 10, 2009
Greenpeace has renewed its call for John Key and dairy giant Fonterra to stop the import of palm based animal feed because of its devastating climate impact, by painting a large slogan reading “Fonterra climate crime” on a shipment in the Port of Taranaki. [See images here.]

Seven Greenpeace activists involved in the protest were arrested when they returned to shore by Taranaki police.

Today's protest on the 177 metre Ikan Juana, from Indonesia, follows last month's 12-hour blockade of a shipment carrying palm kernel expeller (PKE) by Greenpeace activists at the Port of Tauranga. The PKE was destined for Fonterra dairy farms.

Greenpeace is also calling on Fonterra to change its intensive farming model which forces farmers to provide more and more milk at the expense of the climate and the environment.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Simon Boxer said the continued importation of PKE was a clear example of how the Government was misleading the international community about its commitment to tackling climate change and was not prepared to take serious steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, despite deputy Prime Minister Bill English conceding palm kernel production had an impact on rainforest destruction (1).

"The Government is arguing in international climate negotiations that New Zealand should get off lightly on tackling climate change due to its agricultural emissions, and on the basis that it's doing everything it can to reduce those emissions," said Boxer.  

"Meanwhile it's overseeing the intensification of dairy farming, and Fonterra's contribution to rainforest clearance, even when palm-based animal feed is not needed on New Zealand farms. If John Key continues to stand by and allow this kind of hypocrisy, New Zealand's credibility in the upcoming Copenhagen negotiations could be damaged.

"On one hand John Key is announcing New Zealand will drive a global alliance on research to cut greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture while on the other we have this shipment, destined for Fonterra's dairy farms, which has contributed to 364,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (2). That's equal to the annual emissions from 127,000 cars (3)."

PKE is one of the products of Indonesian and Malaysian palm plantations which have been developed on land cleared of rainforest, causing massive carbon emissions. It is a lucrative part of the destructive palm oil business (4). The three main end products of the palm plantation business are crude palm oil (for food), palm kernel oil (for cosmetics, etc) and PKE (used for animal feed).

"New Zealand's imports of 1.1 million tonnes of palm kernel animal feed in 2008 (5) caused the release of up to 20 million tonnes of CO2 in the process. It was then used as a supplementary feed for Fonterra's increasing intensive dairy business, which further increased emissions."

Other contacts: Simon Boxer, Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Simon Boxer, 021 905 579 Phil Crawford, Greenpeace New Zealand communications and media, 021 2299 594

VVPR info: Photos will be available at htp:// Video available on request: Phil Crawford 021 2299 594

Notes: (1) In response to questions in Parliament about palm kernel imports, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, speaking on behalf of Prime Minister John Key, admitted that palm kernel harms the environment saying, "Of course, it has some impact; the Government does not deny that." (2) Based on an average cargo of 20,000 tonnes of PKE. According to data from carbon footprint research of the palm industry rainforest destruction of peat lands for palm plantations gives rise to 96,565 kg of greenhouse gas emissions per hectare per year of production (GHG emissions from palm oil production Literature review and proposals for amendments of RSPO Principles & Criteria, July 2009). According to carbon footprint methodology by a Malaysian Government research agency for industrial development the production of one kg of PKE gives rise to a footprint of up to 18.2 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (The LCA Approach to Illustrate Palm Oil’s Sustainability Advantage S.S.Chen SIRIM Environmental & Bioprocess Technology Centre, Malaysia. SIRIM Berhad is a wholly-owned company of the Malaysian Government under the Minister of Finance Incorporated). (3) Based on average car driving 14,000 km per year ( and the average car emitting 203.8g CO2/km in 2009 (Press release by The Minister for Transport, 28 August, 2009) giving an average annual emissions of 2.853 tonnes of CO2/year/car. (4) According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board “PKC [palm kernel cake/expeller] is also an important product from the oil palm industry that generate[s] substantial export earnings for Malaysia, which was approximately RM 337.9 million in 2003.”(141,240 million NZD). (5) Statistics New Zealand