Environmental Management of Fonterra

Environmental Management of Fonterra


Fonterra is a New Zealand Multinational company owned by over 10,600 Farmers. The company has had a splendid reputation of providing 30% daily products in the world. Fonterra has worked hard to provide the best dairy products in the world. To achieve the set goals and objectives, the organization recruits experts with adequate knowledge in dairy farming. The organization has a strong team that makes dairy products available in the world. With generation of innovation and expertise in dairy farming, the company has been at the forefront in providing quality products and services to consumers and generations to come. Since its establishment in 1871, the company has become the world’s largest exporter of daily products.  This organization is a potent illustration of an organization that adds value to its consumers and customers around the world. Despite the company flourishing in its sales and revenues, there are environmental issues affecting the company. The main environmental issues affecting the company are water and soil pollution. As soil decreases with moisture content, it further affects the weight of the animals. Water pollution is also a core issue affecting the company in that most animals feed on fresh and clean water. If water is contaminated, it affects the productivity of dairy farming. The purpose of this report is to discuss the environmental issues affecting Fonterra and further propose the environmental management approach to combat these issues. The report will also discuss the economic and environmental costs and the limitations of the proposed environmental management approaches.




The major environmental issues affecting this organization include nutrient pollution of the drinking water and soil and contamination of air quality. It is important to conduct a comprehensive analysis of these issues before we develop and implement techniques and tools that would help to manage the environment.

Soil Quality Effects

There are two aspects that significantly affects soil quality; accumulation of heavy metals and soil compaction. A research by Barrow (1999) indicates that, soil compaction is a severe problem with adversely effects on dairy products and on the environment. Usually, compaction happens when soil lacks sufficient strength and nutrients to support the grazing animals. Soil compaction occurs when there is an increase in the emission of gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. Compaction is a severe problem that cannot be underestimated in that it decreases the space for tree’s roots making it shallow. It also interferes with the ecological system responsible for powering quality or healthy soil. When soil lacks adequate nutrients, plants weaken and thus cows lack sufficient food to feed on. Typically, the type of soil plays a crucial role in the tree growth and its survival. Soil compaction is major factor that limits growth of plants. As a result, cows are more likely to die and weaken when there is shortage of food.  Additionally, soil compaction may restrict root growth. This may be a threat since there may be shortage of plants in the future (De & Perry, 2012).

Typically, the organization is also faced with food shortage especially in instances when farmers plant their crops with excessive fertilizers (Fonterra Company, 2013). Often, excessive fertilizers hinder the plant from absorbing water from the root system. As a result, the excessive use of fertilizers hinders the plant from flourishing well. When plants fail to grow as they ought to, the company is also affected. This is because, Fonterra is an organization that distributes dairy products and thus, plants are the main source of food for these animals. When farmers use too much fertilizer in their lands it in turn makes plants to absorb too much nitrogen. This causes plants not to grow or grow to a certain level and then die. Now, Fonterra faces a lot of challenges when farmers use excessive fertilizers on their lands. In most cases, the organization may lack adequate food to feed their animals and in turn this may affects the productivity level of the organization.

Water pollution

Pastoral farming is the major activity in New Zealand, which directly affects water quality. The main challenge facing Fonterra is water pollution, which directly affects animals. Pastoral farming is a core problem that affects surface of water through the effects of faecal contamination, erosion, and aquatic plant growth. The company is making considerable and significant efforts of reducing water pollution in the community. For instance, the company is informing and educating its farmers about ways to minimize the environmental impact of water pollution. Water pollution is a major concern that the organization causes to the environment especially when manure and nutrients flow into waterways.

Air Pollution

Despite the company facing a lot of problems with water and soil pollution, the company has also caused air pollution in the community. The organization poses a core challenge to the health of the community especially when cows release methane. Methane is a crucial and powerful greenhouse gas that significantly contributes to global warming. The animal is also the biggest environmental challenge for the nearby households. People living in communities near Fonterra may face problems with respiratory problems because of high concentration of carbon dioxide released by animals.

The organization effort to reduce the environmental issues and its limitation

It is indisputable that, soil compaction is a core problem affecting Fonterra. The company has been committed to minimize the environmental effects of gas emission such as methane and carbon dioxide just to name a few. It is crucial to note that, when factories release methane, it directly affects the plants growth and survival. With this, the company has established better ways to combat this problem. The company uses boilers exhausts to filter and promote air quality within the factories where milk is processed (Reeves, 2011). The company is also using products such as heat recovery to minimize the amount of energy used in the factories. The company advices most farmers to feed their animals with containers to avoid the effect of water pollution. Basically, animals are more likely to pollute water when they directly drink water from the main sources. The company is also working with many farmers in the community to lift the standards of quality and clean water. The following appendix portrays how the company is embracing ways to boost water quality and water efficiency.

Retrieved from: https://www.fonterra.com/nz/en/sustainability/environment/water/water

The company has a large and strong environmental team with competent staff who review and monitor environmental practices. Often, the staff undertakes and monitor regular site to ensure that the organization is protecting the environment at all cost. Fonterra equip its farmers with adequate knowledge of how to protect the environment. As a result, this reduces the environmental issues that may occur because of the negligence of farmers. According to Fonterra Company (2013), the company uses over 50 million sacks to transport and package milk powder. By introducing the method to reduce the use of plastic in packaging process, the company has minimized the environmental impact associated with the packaging system. The company has implemented a number of eco-efficiency programs in New Zealand to minimize the environmental impact of air and water pollution. Also, the company has created a strong path to reduce soil pollution by advocating and encouraging the society to recycle waste and re-use non-recyclable materials. To achieve the set goals and objectives of waste management, Fonterra has partnered with stakeholders such as waste and recyclers companies, zero waste trust in New Zealand, ministry of the environment in New Zealand, and WasteMINZ.

The company has been on the forefront to eliminate wastes in the environment. Specifically, it has helped the local communities to fight environmental issues as shown in the following diagram


Retrieved from: https://www.fonterra.com/nz/en/Sustainability/Community

Distinctively, Fonterra has a target of minimizing waste from the manufacturing sites. The ultimate aim of the company is to create a work environment that protect and preserves the environment. The company has embrace the emissions trading scheme to reduce emissions and encourage tree planting. For the past years, the recycling stations in each site have helped the company to reduce the amount of waste of products. The company has attained a tremendous growth of reducing the use of plastic materials and papers. Studies show that, the company’s manufacturing sector is playing a crucial role in enacting energy reduction programs and thus, this is enhancing a significant contribution to minimize the level of carbon dioxide release the stock ‘cows” (Barrow, 1999). Fonterra is working with the New Zealand government to implement emission trading scheme and programs. The company continues to collaborate with other business and industry to enact solutions in climate change. The management team has addressed the global effect of climate change such as droughts. Fonterra believes that actions should be taken to protect the environment from the climate change. The company has also worked to develop programs, tools, and facilities that combat water pollution. Many of the company’s sites treat polluted water around the surrounding land. Other initiatives include the process of wastewater treatment that significantly minimizes the water pollution. The company has the largest energy reduction project in the New Zealand, which reduces the level of carbon dioxide emission. Since its establishment in 2003, the project has played a vital role of reducing the amount of energy consumption daily. Fonterra has embraced a number of strategies to boost efficiency in transport. The company utilizes leading edge technology to concentrate milk to tank prior to transporting it. Through this project, the organization handles dairy products with cleanness. The company has spent a lot of resources in implementing the mentioned environmental management approach. As technology continues to peak, the company has established the need to invest more on modern tools and technique to combat environmental issues.


For the past years, the demand of dairy products is increasing since consumers are recognizing the nutritious benefits of these products. Most dairy farms are recognizing the need to invest more on dairy products. Despite the industry flourishing economically, most daily farms are faced with a number of environmental issues. As environmental issues affect most dairy farms, it is vital for dairy farms to embrace strategies to combat air, water, and soil pollution. As technology continues to peak at a high rate, then the company must embrace technological tools that help to deter pollution. The company must make considerable efforts to educate and inform its farmers and employees on ways to reduce environmental issues. This report proposes the following recommendations.


Sustainable dairying necessitates a balance between environmental, economic, and social goals. Fonterra must be innovative to apply environmentally practices and utilize new technologies that promote a healthy environment. Reducing soil compaction can be achieved best by keeping animals away from saturated soil. Practically, the organization may utilize a short grazing period whereby the stock or cows may be moved to other places such as yard or loafing pad until soil condition improves. This would create a strong ground for animals to be fed on the right food that is not polluted. It would also be vital for the organization to keep enough food for the cows. This would help the organization in times when the soil is polluted or in times of famine and drought. Farmers should embrace practices that reduces soil compacting. Sub-soiling and drainage may decrease the soil wetness and the period in which the soil is likely to compact. Other techniques include soil aeration, which can reduce the compaction effects.

The company must enact high standards and principles of environmental compliance. The company should invest more in training farmers on how to protect the environment. This would minimize the cases of putting excessive fertilizers in land and water pollution. Training farmers would create a strong ground to preserve the environment at all cost. Fonterra has an overall duty to preserve and protect its image. The company must work hard to show the community that it cares for the environment. The need to minimize the adverse impact on the environment has been a core issue in New Zealand.  The Resource Management Act encourages farms to manage water resources and soil with consistent principles of sustainability (Reeves, 2011). For Fonterra, this creates the need to work hard to minimize the environmental issues. It must embrace every strategy to provide ecosystems services such as abundant and clean water, clean air, quality soil, and climate stability. The company must embrace essential services of ecosystems that promote a favorable environment for plants, animals, and human beings. When Fonterra recognizes the need to preserve biodiversity then, it will embrace every strategy to promote and champion for environmental management. To fully meet the proposed strategies, the company must invest more on resources that preserve biodiversity. Despite the high cost associated with the mentioned strategies, the company will be in a better position to achieve its set goals and objectives since there will be no obstacles such as shortage of food to the stock.




Barrow, C. J. (1999). Environmental management: Principles and practice. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=bIVAyFVKt-kC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Environmental+management:+Principles+and+practice&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JzXzUvnEBoLNygO28IDoAg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Environmental%20management%3A%20Principles%20and%20practice&f=false

De, F. C. R., & Perry, M. (2012). New environmentalism: Managing New Zealand’s environmental diversity. Dordrecht: Springer. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=FuGapEG6jwAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Environmental+management+in+New+Zealand&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tzbzUsszibvKA-CygJgL&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Environmental%20management%20in%20New%20Zealand&f=false

Reeves, S. (2011). Environmental law in New Zealand. Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=QVqKyLWjg7AC&pg=PA65&dq=Environmental+management+in+New+Zealand&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tzbzUsszibvKA-CygJgL&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Environmental%20management%20in%20New%20Zealand&f=false

Fonterra Company. (2013).  Environmental Sustainability on Farm. Retrieved from http://www.fonterra.com/wps/wcm/connect/e118e04a-aa86-4ffb-9376-d5a46da5f8e8/Environmental+Sustainability+on+Farm+Proposal.pdf?MOD=AJPERES


Fonterra Company. (2013). Fonterra and the Environment: A sustainable New Zealand Dairying Industry. Retrieved from: https://www.fonterra.com/wps/wcm/connect/81634c804561fdcc8637ff8c696de887/Fonterra+and+the+Environment+A+sustainable+New+Zealand+dairying+industry.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=81634c804561fdcc8637ff8c696de887

Fonterra Company. (2013). Supporting our Communities. Retrieved from https://www.fonterra.com/nz/en/Sustainability/Community



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