Nestle and Fonterra, New Zealand’s largest dairy processor, have partnered to develop the country’s first net zero carbon dairy business.

The Net Zero Dairy project will assess the total carbon footprint of dairy farms and will run for five years with joint partner Dairy Trust Taranaki.

The goal is to reduce emissions by 30% by mid-2027 and reach net zero emissions within 10 years.

The pilot will be conducted on 290 hectares of land and all learning and activities will be shared with other farmers to promote understanding. Farmers can then adopt the best techniques and techniques for their operations.

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Agribusiness accounts for 48% of New Zealand’s total emissions. Methane, nitrous oxide (N2O), and CO2 are major components of total livestock emissions.

Fifteen of the world’s largest dairy companies (including Fonterra) account for 3.4% of global methane emissions and 11% of total global livestock emissions, according to the Institute for Agricultural Trade Policy (IATP).

Last month, New Zealand tried to charge farmers for emissions from their cattle. However, apart from the cow’s own emissions, the milk components that the cow supplies also excrete contaminants.

The country has the lowest milk carbon footprint in the world. Still, dairy products account for about 50% of the country’s agricultural emissions. And about a quarter is due to the milk’s biological emissions (N2O and methane).

The announcement comes after Fonterra told dairy farmers earlier this month that it plans to set a target for Scope 3 emissions. This source of information includes agricultural emissions that are critical to meeting the sustainability expectations of customers and export markets.

Dairy projects help both Nestlé and Fonterra meet their climate goals. Both aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Because each farm is different, we need to look for specific tools that work on each farm to monitor and adapt to that farm situation. They will share experiences learned in establishing farming practices that can reduce emissions from milk production.

Dairy products and livestock account for approximately 33% of Nestlé’s total emissions. To meet climate goals, companies must support dairy farms transforming their means of production.

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The dairy project with Fonterra will help Nestlé reach its goals of 20% emissions by 2025, 50% by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050.

The partnership also includes the launch of an assistance program for dairy farmers. Farms participating in the project will receive additional support from Fonterra to enable emission reductions on their farms.

Solutions may include better feed and pasture management and improved milk production efficiency. The pilot project will start on about 50 farms and expand over the next three years.

In the United States, Neutral Foods is a company that tracks and purchases carbon credits to neutralize emissions from dairy farms. We also work with farmers to help reduce emissions at source.

Neutral Foods measures emissions over the lifecycle of dairy products. The company then purchases carbon credits for the emissions it wishes to offset.

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