NEW ZEALAND – Dairy co-op Fonterra planned to invest NZD 51 million (US$28.94m) to improve wastewater processing at its Te Awamutu site in the Waikato region of New Zealand.

The upgrade at Te Awamutu is one of the first projects being run by the newly established Wastewater Community – a partnership made up of companies including PDP, Babbage, Beca, Vertex Engineers, Aurecon, Tetra Pak, Fulton Hogan, and TEG.

Over the next ten years, these partners will work together to share knowledge to improve subsequent projects.

Stage one of the construction project has just been completed, and the dairy giant claims that environmental performance has already improved significantly.

The wastewater upgrade is also key to Fonterra’s long-term sustainability goals as the cooperative looks to reduce water consumption at its manufacturing sites.

Fonterra Te Awamutu Operations Manager, Russell Muir said reducing water use and improving wastewater at the manufacturing sites is a key part of our long-term strategy, and over the next eight years. She added that the co-op will invest around NZD 600 million(US$340.80m) in improvements.

Fonterra’s General Manager of water and environment, Ian Goldschmidt, said: “We know that we will need to do things differently to achieve our goals and are excited to have developed this cross-industry partnership, bringing together a well-respected group of subject matter experts”.

Throughout the project at Te Awamutu, we will be continuously looking for ways to improve – not only to implement within this project but to share our knowledge with the wider Wastewater Community team”.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand-based dairy giant has also released the Sustainable Finance Framework, which aims to align its funding strategy with its sustainability ambitions.

The developed framework is a result of a joint work partnership between the Co-op and Joint Sustainability Co-ordinators HSBC and Westpac NZ.

In addition, the framework has been independently verified by ISS Corporate Solutions to confirm alignment with globally agreed sustainable finance principles.

The framework outlines how the cooperative intends to issue and manage any sustainable debt via green bonds and sustainability-linked bonds and loans.

By FY30, Fonterra intends to invest around NZ$1bn in reducing carbon emissions and improving water efficiency and treatment at our manufacturing sites.

 In doing so, the dairy will be taking significant steps toward the aspiration to be Net Zero by 2050 and plans to align funding with this approach.

Other initiatives to promote sustainability undertaken by the dairy giant include a joint venture with the New Zealand government, as part of the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions.

Last year the co-op also changed the way farmers are paid for their milk through the introduction of a new milk payment parameter covering milk quality and an on-farm demonstration of care for the environment, animals, people, and community.

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