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Thursday, May 20

Greenpeace blocks Fonterra coal use with clean solution

Greenpeace activists have blocked the coal depot of Fonterra’s Clandeboye factory near Timaru, using a truckload of alternative fuel, saying the company is damaging the climate by burning coal when cleaner solutions exist. They have dumped three tonnes of wood pellets in the depot which supplies coal to the boilers and four have locked themselves to equipment to stop coal deliveries. They are calling on Fonterra - the country’s third largest coal user and one of our biggest emitters - to switch to a cleaner fuel source without delay.

They’re also highlighting that the Government’s schedule 4 mining plans include mining 3,000 ha of the Paparoa National Park for coal, which is destined for Fonterra plants (1). Over 40,000 people marched against the plans earlier this month (2).

“Fonterra’s decision to run its factories on coal rather than clean alternatives epitomizes not only the global climate crisis, but also the very serious economic challenge facing New Zealand” said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer. “Both the Government and Fonterra continue to put short-term profit ahead of the long-term wellbeing of the economy and the environment.

“Following Greenpeace’s action last November against the lignite coal mine supplying Fonterra’s Edendale milk powder factory, Fonterra hinted it might look at cleaner alternatives to coal (3). Nearly six months later vast quantities of coal are still pouring into Fonterra’s boilers,” said Boxer.

“The climate cannot wait and we want a clear answer from Fonterra. Meanwhile the Government needs to forget its 19th century thinking and show the country it’s capable of leading it towards a modern, smart, clean economy.

“Ignoring the climate crisis and mining coal, including from National Parks, to burn in Fonterra factories producing low value milk powder for the commodities market, is nothing short of criminal.”

Boxer said Fonterra’s intensification model for dairy was driving up emissions and undermining New Zealand’s clean and green reputation.

“The international accounting firm KPMG recently questioned the future of Fonterra’s intensive dairy business model (4). Fonterra’s backward vision is not going to add value to the New Zealand economy.”

Wood pellets and other biomass products of the timber industry are viable alternatives to coal which burn cleaner, release less carbon dioxide and are renewable, he said.

Today’s action is part of an ongoing campaign by Greenpeace to highlight and stop Fonterra’s climate crimes. Over the last 10 months Greenpeace has exposed links between Fonterra’s supplementary palm kernel animal feed from Indonesia and the devastation of rainforests (5) and highlighted its use of coal to power its factories, which is driving coal mining and carbon emissions in New Zealand (6).