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‘Silver Fern Farms Approved For Eeca Co-funding To Accelerate Decarbonisation’

Silver Fern Farms will halve its coal consumption after receiving co-funding from Government for major coal reduction projects at two of its processing sites.

Minister of Energy and Resources Dr Megan Woods made the announcement today as part of the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) fund. The fund was established by the Government as part of the Covid Response and Recovery Fund, which aims to drive economic stimulus and job creation through decarbonisation projects. It is administered by EECA (The Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority).

EECA approved 14 projects in the first round of funding. The successful projects included the installation of high-temperature heat pumps at Silver Fern Farms Finegand (Balclutha) and Belfast (Christchurch) processing sites.

These heat pumps will produce hot water using previously wasted refrigeration heat, which will reduce the company’s coal consumption by 48% - equivalent to over 14,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. The work is expected to be completed by mid-2023.

Silver Fern Farms Chief Executive Simon Limmer said the company was always looking for ways to move faster on its sustainability journey.

“With the support of EECA we’re taking two massive leaps towards a low carbon future. Our Plate to Pasture strategy is all about meeting the needs of our customers, and they increasingly want to know that their red meat is sustainably produced.

“This is just one of the many areas in which we’re delivering on our vision to be the world’s most successful and sustainable grass-fed red meat company,” he said.

As part of its vision in 2019, Silver Fern Farms became the first red meat company in New Zealand to achieve a Toitu certified carbon footprint.

Mr Limmer said Silver Fern Farms’ capital expenditure in 2020 was $52.5M, with focus on infrastructure that advances the company’s sustainability goals, such as smart lighting, hot water system management, and overall water use reduction.

“Our Sustainable Chain of Care is fundamental to the way we produce grass-fed red meat, and we continue to measure our progress against environmental, social, and financial sustainability,” he said.

Silver Fern Farms’ Finegand and Belfast sites employ 1675 staff between them, paying $94M in wages, processing livestock for 3100 farmer partners across the South Island, and returning over $420M in Livestock Payments.

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