Fonterra’s sale of its half share in a palm kernel expeller business to its partner, palm giant Wilmar International, highlights a concerning relationship, says Greenpeace.

Palm kernel expeller, or PKE, is a product of the palm oil industry. Since 2008, Fonterra has partnered with food producer Wilmar International under the Agrifeeds brand to import PKE as a supplementary feed for dairy cattle. 

In 2018, a Greenpeace investigation found that Wilmar International has been linked with the mass destruction of rainforest in Papua, Indonesia. 

“Fonterra has now handed complete control of its PKE imports over to a company that has failed to end deforestation and peatland destruction in its supply chain,” says Greenpeace Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman. 

“Fonterra’s continued use of PKE supports destructive players in the palm oil industry that are displacing indigenous peoples and local communities, killing wildlife and causing fires that create a toxic haze and endanger millions of lives.”

New Zealand is the world’s biggest importer of PKE, and Greenpeace says imported feed like PKE has implications for the climate crisis. 

A report prepared for the Ministry for Primary Industries states that for every tonne of PKE produced, greenhouse gases equivalent to over half a tonne of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere.

“The palm industry has done more than enough damage. Not only is the production of PKE terrible for our climate, New Zealand’s bloated dairy industry relies on PKE to feed more cows than the land can sustain,” says Norman.

“With agriculture being New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter, we need an urgent shift away from this high-input, industrial agribusiness model towards regenerative farming that works within the limits of the land. 

“If this Government is serious about the climate crisis, they must act now to phase out imported feed, like PKE, which is driving intensive dairying.”


FFP Deployment at PT SUM Concession in Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan. © Rendra Hernawan
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