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Time to shut Ravensdown?

24th September 2019

Climate Justice Taranaki padlocked the gate today at the fertiliser factory Ravensdown, blocking trucks, in light of the company's connections to many environmental and social issues, climate change being number one.

"We have been warned by the world's leading scientists that we only have ten years before we hit the tipping point on our planet's climate crisis, so the next year or two is the time to really push for a societal shift away from climate polluting industries."

"We locked the gate here at Ravensdown today to highlight the fact that this company as it is, should be shut down."

"Ravensdown fertiliser is derived from gas, a fossil fuel, and 'Blood phosphates' taken from Western Sahara under military occupation. When used the fertiliser emits nitrous oxide which is a greenhouse gas 400 times worse than carbon dioxide."

"For decades Ravensdown's fertilisers have propped up industrial agriculture in this country, which contributes half of all our emissions, mostly as methane which while short-lived is over 80 times worse than carbon dioxide. Together fertiliser and industrial farming are also causing massive damage to our soils and waterways, killing off native fish and kaimoana."

"On the social front, Western Saharan communities bear the brunt of Morocco's military invasion to steal the phosphates that are now only sold to Ballance and Ravensdown in New Zealand, since all other countries have banned it."

"There are also reports from ex-employees about the terrible working conditions in the New Plymouth factory where safety clothing has to be discarded due to severe heat since the company refuses to use proper ventilation."

"The working conditions on industrial NZ farms, propped up by these fertilisers, is well known with long hours and poor pay in an unsustainable industry wracked with billions of dollars of debt to send 96% of its commodity products overseas."

"So this is a warning to Ravensdown, Ballance and the industrial farming sector that the spotlight is on them now. The world is calling for urgent change towards sustainable and regenerative farming which can convert productive pastures to a net carbon sink. If these companies don't change, they should expect to lose their social licence and investors just like their buddies in the oil and gas sector. We need an urgent just transition that works for everyone and an end to CEOs lining their pockets with the collective wealth of our environment, workers and communities."

"The Prime Minister just said at the UN Climate Summit that we are determined to be 'the most sustainable food producers in the world'. To make this happen the government should pay a much stronger role in regulating the unsustainable agri-chemical industry," said Climate Justice Taranaki member Emily Bailey.

"Unlike carbon dioxide, the short lifespan of methane emissions means cutting them back now could give us a real chance to stop this climate crisis. We urge farmers to shift to more organic and regenerative farming for local markets and encourage everyone to get to the student-led Climate Strike this Friday at 11am in Huatoki Plaza," concluded Bailey.


ENDS


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