Expeller feeds fed to New Zealand cows are causing expansions of plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia due to increased demand for palm kernels, says Greenpeace.
Greenpeace has taken Fonterra to task claiming the dairy cooperative has played a part in rainforest destruction in Indonesia and Malaysia in order to feed New Zealand cows.
Greenpeace says a quarter of the world’s production of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) animal feed, an economic product of the Indonesian and Malaysian palm industry, was imported into New Zealand last year with the majority going to feed dairy cows.
Fonterra’s half owned subsidiary RD1 had also forged a joint venture with palm oil giant Wilmar International.
Wilmar is the world’s largest trader of palm oil and kernel and had a reputation as one of the world’s worst rainforest destroying palm companies.
Imports need to be stopped
“It’s a scandal that Fonterra is feeding its dairy cows a product that is directly contributing to the destruction of the world’s remaining rainforests and to increased climate change,” said Simon Boxer, Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner.
“This makes no sense and the New Zealand Government needs to stop Fonterra importing palm kernel expeller into New Zealand,” said Boxer. He said it was further evidence that Fonterra's "short-sighted drive for profit" was completely unsustainable.
Marginal inclusion in feeds
Fonterra says farmers will ultimately make the decision about whether to support imports of an animal feed made from palm oil.
Spokesman John Hutchings says the company regularly speaks with farmers about sustainability issues.
He says there is increasing interest globally about where consumer goods come from, and farmers are no different.
Palm kernel expeller is only a by-product of palm oil proceesing and according to Hutchings less than one percent of animal feed is palm kernel expeller - most feed is grass.
The company said it sources feed only from a single reputable company which has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.