Fonterra is known for processing milk products, it is a brand synonymous with farming in New Zealand and relies heavily on New Zealand’s image as a clean food producing nation. The environmental impact of the dairy industry is a topic often hotly discussed in the national media. As the country’s largest dairy producer, Fonterra is looking hard at the systems on their industrial sites to gain a better understanding of the risks and opportunities to improve operations, one area Fonterra has paid particular attention to is stormwater management.
Many of Fonterra’s sites have been developed over the last 100 plus years as the dairy industry has been industrialised. During much of this time there has been no recognised stormwater management, standards or national policy statements to guide how stormwater should be managed, especially in the typically rural locations in which the production sites are located.
Fonterra is systematically assessing their sites to assess the stormwater infrastructure and ensuring they understand and minimise the risks of uncontrolled contaminant discharges via this infrastructure. Where appropriate they are installing treatment or altering management regimes to reduce the risk of the discharges from their sites. They are also developing a stormwater management strategy to aid them in decision making with respect to their stormwater infrastructure.
At the same time they are an organisation with shareholders, and stormwater management is not their core business. They need to ensure any money spent will bring value to those shareholders.
This is a story of how a New Zealand industry leader is approaching their stormwater responsibilities. In particular it focuses on two sites in the upper South Island. The paper describes the drivers behind Fonterra’s approach, the Strategy, the challenges, the process and the success factors, as well as a few lessons learnt along the way.