The carbon cost of palm kernel expeller

Publication - December 4, 2011
Fonterra’s use of palm kernel expeller (PKE) could hide a large source of unaccounted climate emissions, making a significant contribution to the carbon footprint of its milk products - palm products are typically grown on cleared rainforest or peatlands in South East Asia.

Tropical forest destruction is responsible for around a fifth of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ending deforestation is not only a central part of a global strategy to tackle climate change, but it is also crucial for the preservation of the region’s biodiversity. The endangered orang-utan and the Sumatran tiger are just two of the species under threat of extinction due to the loss of their natural forest habitats.

Imports of PKE into New Zealand skyrocketed to a record high of over 1.4 million tonnes in the 2010/11 dairy season, almost all of which was used on Fonterra’s dairy farms.

These imports are responsible for the release of up to 8.91 million tonnes of climate wrecking emissions. This is the equivalent to 12 per cent of New Zealand’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

The 1.4 million tonnes of PKE that were imported in the 2010/1011 season came at a cost (prior to it being shipped to New Zealand) of over $265 million. This money goes straight into the hands of the palm industry.

Download the report:

Report: The carbon cost of palm kernel expeller and its contribution to the dairy carbon footprint in New Zealand