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A joint approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions means Synlait can keep doing milk differently for a healthier world

Grant Watson is CEO of Synlait Milk, a New Zealand-based company combining expert farming with state-of-the-art processing to produce a range of nutritional milk products for our global customers that provide genuine benefits for human health and wellbeing.

I have enjoyed the privilege of leading the team at Synlait as CEO since January 2022. One of the things I have always admired about Synlait is its world-class sustainability credentials. Our purpose of Doing Milk Differently For A Healthier World is embedded deep in the company’s DNA and history.

Sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have – it has become a core business enabler for Synlait. Embedding sustainability into our purpose and culture, our on-farm standards (Lead with Pride™), and customer partnerships (via our Made with Better Milk programme) are essential components of Synlait’s competitive advantage model. We’re also a certified B Corp™, which reflects our ambition to balance people, planet, and profit.

At Synlait, we have seen our on-farm greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduce since 2018. This reduction hasn’t happened by chance. We have worked with our farmers one-on-one to ensure they know how to reduce their emissions. We have provided technical support and incentive payments to support this, but farmers have done the hard work. Many of these mitigations also improve farm profitability, making them a win-win for improving financial and environmental sustainability.

We know that continuing these initiatives will only lead to further improvements. We must actively work on solutions to give our farmers more options to ensure emissions reductions can happen at a faster rate.

For Synlait, it was fantastic and absolutely critical we were part of the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions announced at Fieldays® in November. The 50:50 joint venture will see Government and agricultural businesses collaborate to develop solutions for reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. This is something that aligns with Synlait’s purpose, and reflects the values of the Fit for a Better World roadmap.

The Joint Venture's key benefit is that we will jointly fund the research, development, and commercialisation of technologies and solutions for agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Having a pre-competitive partnership, where all parties contribute funding, makes significant research and development trials possible. Previously it would have been too expensive for individual companies like Synlait to do this alone. Agreeing to collaborate with others also prevents unnecessary duplication of effort. The sector's combined scale makes activities more economical and sustainable when thinking about trialling and releasing new initiatives.

Having key players in the industry contributing will help accelerate the rollout and uptake of solutions across New Zealand. Synlait is extremely excited to be involved.