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Accord Is Achieving What It Set Out To Do

Media Release 2 October 2008

Fonterra Says Accord Is Achieving What It Set Out To Do

Barry Harris, Chairman of Fonterra’s Sustainability Leadership Team, says Fonterra’s Dairying and Clean Streams Accord is on target to achieve what it set out to do – making dairy farmers more accountable for the environment.

Mr Harris says the report released today by Forest & Bird and Fish & Game New Zealand, which claims that the Accord is not working, is inaccurate and misleading.

Four of the five targets laid out in the Accord for Fonterra’s farmers to meet were achieved by 2007 – the halfway point for the agreement. Mr Harris said the one target where dairy farmers were really falling short was dairy effluent compliance; Fonterra is addressing this by employing a team of Sustainable Dairying Specialists to advise farmers and a dedicated effluent engineer to help in problem regions.

“We know dairy effluent management is our Achilles heel, and we’re doing something about it. We have introduced the Effluent Indicator System, which develops an environmental improvement plan for non-compliant farmers.

“If these suppliers don’t meet the deadline we set to lift their game, we impose a financial penalty and ultimately can refuse to pick up a supplier’s milk. We have a number of suppliers within this system,”Mr Harris said

The regional councils’ plan to standardise the definition of non-compliance will enable Accord partners to better collate future results across regions, and more accurately compare them.

The report also fails to acknowledge a vast programme of work that is happening alongside this Accord throughout the industry. These include the Primary Sector Water Partnership -- through which the dairy industry has engaged with both Forest & Bird and Fish & Game -- regional projects in Canterbury, Southland and Northland and DairyNZ’s projects such as FarmEnviroWalk.

The eight-year period of the Accord is a little over halfway through and it is achieving what it set out to do:

-83 per cent of suppliers have excluded 100 per cent of stock from waterways - beating the 2007 target.

-97 per cent of suppliers have bridges or culverts over regular stock crossing points – already exceeding the 2012 target.

-98.8 per cent of our suppliers now have nutrient budgets in place

-And where councils have identified regionally significant wetlands, these are being fenced off, meeting the 2007 Accord target.

Finally, the report today also claimed that the Accord is not independently audited. “This is simply not true. The Accord results are audited by an independent third party,” Mr Harris said.

- ENDS -

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