A human chain of protesters piled sacks labelled ‘Fonterra palm kernel’ and ‘Fonterra coal’ outside Fonterra’s corporate headquarters today in protest of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the dairy giant’s intensive farming practices.
The protest focused on greenhouse gas emissions caused by the
dairy giant's intensive farming practices. This comes the day after
Fonterra admits that its palm kernel is not sustainable, only that
they are "pushing" for sustainability(1).
Fonterra knows that their palm kernel comes at the expense of
rainforests, orangutans, indigenous peoples and the climate, yet
they do it anyway. Now they are trying to down play the issue
rather than dealing with it.
Two weeks out from the Copenhagen international climate talks,
Fonterra's influence is preventing John Key and the New Zealand
Government from reducing emissions. Today we laid Fonterra's
climate crimes at its door and called on John Key to stand up to
Fonterra and bring it under control, rather than allowing them to
dictate this country's response to climate change.
Fonterra is New Zealand's largest greenhouse gas emitter. In
addition to increasing on-farm emissions Fonterra's levels of
climate pollution are skyrocketing due to the expansion of burning
coal for milk processing and its increase of palm kernel imports,
produced on land cleared of rainforests.
The iconic dairy giant is responsible for around 16 million
tonnes of emissions each year (over 20 per cent of New Zealand's
total emissions) (2), but this increases to a massive 36 million
tonnes when indirect emissions are included such as from palm
kernel production (3). This is more than all of New Zealand's
transport emissions including aviation plus all electricity
generation emissions including Huntly coal power station.
Seventy-six-year Harold Phillips, attending the protest because
he doesn't like the path Fonterra has taken said, "I feel compelled
to protest. Fonterra's dairy farming nowadays needs a lot of
fertiliser, supplementary feed like palm kernel grown on the ashes
of far away rainforests. It's farming but not how it used to be.
It's a disgrace."
Fonterra has lobbied the Government heavily so that Kiwi
taxpayers have to pick up most of the bill for Fonterra's climate
pollution while still increasing their greenhouse gas emissions
each year. At this point in time we must drastically reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and those who create the pollution should
Today's protest follows a Greenpeace
action last week that shut down the New Vale coal mine in
Southland which supplies Fonterra's Edendale milk processing
factory. In August, Greenpeace exposed
the links between Fonterra's supplementary palm kernel feed
from Indonesia and the devastation of rainforests, including
orangutan and Sumatran tiger habitats, contributing to massive
climate change. Greenpeace
stopped a shipment of palm kernel at Tauranga in September and
protested against another shipment into
Taranaki in October.
1 "Fonterra's procurement policy includes pushing for
certification and more sustainable supplies of products and
services", Fonterra media advisory: Greenpeace Protest - Fonterra
Centre, 23 November 2009. 2
plus 1.87 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from
Fonterra's processing and manufacturing processes calculated from
Fonterra's ETS submission;
Dairy on farm emissions
3 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).
Imports of palm kernel to New Zealand in 2008 were 1.1 million
tonnes (Statistics New Zealand).
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