An Open Letter to Fonterra

Dear Fonterra

c/o Chair John Wilson, 


We call on you to commit to “no new coal boilers” – that is, to use wood waste, not coal, in the new boilers you're currently planning, like at Studholme. 

Then, we want Fonterra to commit to, and fully carry out, a programme to phase out coal boilers and move to wood waste at its existing plants as they age.

Will you sign?

5,000 signatures

This campaign was run in partnership with Coal Action Network Aotearoa and the petition has now closed.

Coal cooks the climate. It is the most carbon-intensive fuel. If we are to keep climate change to less than 2 degrees of warming, a goal most nations have agreed to, most of the coal that exists must stay in the ground. All coal users need to start phasing out their coal use and replacing with renewable energy.

In New Zealand, Fonterra uses more than half a million tonnes a year of coal. Worse, Fonterra is aggressively growing its coal use. Since 2008 its coal use has grown by about 38% and it is planning another big plant with 4 new boilers. [1, 2]

We are calling for Fonterra to use wood waste instead of coal in all its new boilers at its milk factories. Will you help us?

Fonterra is one of the top three users of coal in New Zealand, and they do have other options. They've just chosen to expand their use of coal instead. As a global company that trades on New Zealand’s “clean and green” image, we believe Fonterra has a particular responsibility to walk the talk at home.

Robert Spurway, the Managing Director, Global Operations of Fonterra has said they have a “responsibility to all New Zealanders for the impacts of (their) decisions”. Those impacts currently include contributing massively to accelerating climate change, which means more severe storms, droughts, floods and sea level rise. Farmers will be particularly hard hit by climate change, and dairy farmers, with their huge need for water, especially so.

If Fonterra wishes to retain a good reputation, it needs to start reducing its coal use and its carbon dioxide emissions, rather than planning a big increase of new coal boilers. Help us call on Fonterra to quit new coal and move to wood waste instead.

Anything that can produce a lot of high temperature heat can dry milk. That includes wood, other waste biomass fuels, plants like the grass miscanthus, and if technology can improve efficiency and reduce cost, eventually electricity.

The best alternative right now is waste wood – the huge quantities of forest residues that are left on landing sites in the forests after logging. 

That's why we're calling on Fonterra to commit to “no new coal boilers” – that is, to use wood, not coal, in the new boilers it’s currently planning, like at Studholme. Then, we want Fonterra to commit to – and fully carry out – a programme to phase out coal boilers and move to wood waste at its existing plants as they age.

Join our call and sign the petition.


  1. Jeanette Fitzsimons: 'Fonterra, It’s Time To Quit Coal', The Press, Sep 22 2015
  2. Gerard Hutching: 'Fonterra a large scale coal user',, May 26 2015

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