Fonterra to recognise high-performing farms in new sustainability approach

Fonterra has pledged to get tough on farmer suppliers who flout its sustainability standards, as part of a new sustainability strategy.

The dairy giant said the 'The Co-operative Difference' will make it easier for farmers to know what is expected today and in the future, as well as recognise those farmers who are taking steps to produce high quality milk in a more sustainable way.

Co-operative Affairs Managing Director Mike Cronin said sustainability for the co-op was more than the environment. 

"It's about looking after our people, caring for animals, adapting to changing customer and consumer expectations, and respecting the communities and land where we live and work," he said.

"We are proud of the global reputation Fonterra farmers have for producing high-quality milk.

"Farmers have made tremendous progress on farm to date and 'The Co-operative Difference' will help us take that good work to the next level so we can continue to create goodness for generations to come."

Fonterra said the 'The Co-operative Difference' will: 

- Recognise farmers who go beyond the minimum requirements to supply high-quality milk, care for their animals, protect the environment, support their people and community, and engage in their Co-operative;

- Help other farmers follow suit by making existing on-farm requirements easier to understand and by providing tailored, industry-leading support services to those who want to improve;

- Provide more information and advance notice to farmers about our future aspirations so they can -plan and progress towards our shared ambitions;

- Streamlining reporting and auditing to save farmers' time and energy, and help the Co-op protect its market position, strengthen its sustainability claims, and drive demand for products that customers and consumers value most; and

- Support farms wanting to improve, while taking a firmer line with those that persistently fail to meet minimum standards, and exercising our rights to suspend collection.

'The Co-operative Difference' was developed in consultation with farmers, Cronin said.