Silver Fern Farms - New Zealand farmers can lead carbon conscious food production

By Silver Fern Farms

Silver Fern Farms - New Zealand farmers can lead carbon conscious food production

Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand’s largest red meat company, welcomed the release of the Emissions Reduction Plan and looks forward to working with the Government, industry and our farmer suppliers to ensure New Zealand is the food producer of choice in a low carbon world.

“At Silver Fern Farms, we see the transition to a low carbon economy as an important opportunity to create new forms of value for New Zealand and position our farmers as climate innovators,” says Simon Limmer, Chief Executive Silver Fern Farms.

“Through the Emissions Reduction Plan process, we have been asking the Government to back our sheep and beef farmers on the world stage and invest in initiatives that empower farmers to act in ways that keep pace with customer demand for more sustainably produced, and processed, red meat.

“The Emissions Reduction Plan released today shows a growing acceptance of the complexity of agricultural emissions, but also supports the huge opportunity for NZ Inc food producers to work together to respond to and meet the growing expectations of carbon conscious consumers.

“As an exporter and marketer, we know that our pastoral farming system already has many of the attributes consumers are looking for. However, we must continue to invest, innovate and support those working the land to ensure our farms continue to be seen as the best in the world,” said Simon Limmer

Putting tools into the hands of farmers to reduce and manage emissions is key and Silver Fern Farms have been strong advocates and willing partners for a game-changing investment in methane reduction R&D and technology.

The $339 million investment into the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions is a positive outcome from the Emissions Reductions Plan process and should be seen in the context of maintaining and growing the $50 billion export earnings the primary sector contribute to the economy each year.

“A coordinated approach to solving methane emissions in our pastoral farming system is the big-ticket to not only hit our emission 2030 targets, but to create a world-leading low emissions farming system, underpinned by nature positive pastoral agriculture.

“The proposal to form a joint venture means the agribusiness sector now has real skin-in-the-game for methane reduction technology and can better contribute to accelerating solutions into the hands of farmers via the resources, networks and the commercial knowledge we bring to the table. We are confident it will deliver.

“Silver Fern Farms looks forward to working with the Government to further develop the joint venture proposal, and supporting the Centre to get a range of solutions in the hands of farmers as quickly as possible,” said Simon Limmer.

Silver Fern Farms also welcomed the investments into home-grown clean energy, and the scaling up of nursery production for native forest planting.

“The recent refocus to prioritise native planting and prevent the march of pine has been appreciated by rural communities. Sheep and beef farms which have been a key part of the economic and community fabric of modern New Zealand should not become victim to the Emissions Trading Scheme and it is good to see this recognised in the Emission Reduction Plan,” said Simon Limmer.

The announcements today give good clarity on the path forward, but there is more needed. Silver Fern Farms is awaiting the conclusion of the He Waka Eke Noa process and continues to call for a well-designed farm-based levy that incentivises on-farm emissions reductions and investment back into nature-based solutions.

“Finally, this country is full of good farmers who want to be part of the solution to the climate crisis and want to hand their farm on in better shape than they found it – they are managing their emissions, planting natives, regenerating habitats, investing in new technology and working hard to respond to market signals.

“This is at the heart of what good farmers do. And good farmers must be at the heart of our work to create a climate positive food system,” said Simon Limmer.


Media Contact
Bill de la Mare
Head of External Affairs
021 924 331

Background for Editors


Silver Fern Farms Climate Commitments and Progress

  • We have reduced our processing emissions by 20% since 2018
  • We will have zero coal use in our processing by 2030 and will halve our emissions from coal by the end of 2023
  • We have committed to a 1.5-degree science aligned target to reduce our combined Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 42% by 2030 (from a 2020 base year). This is supported by a carbon reduction roadmap, and capital commitment to a range of emissions reductions projects
  • In 2021 we joined the International Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) submitting a 1.5 degree aligned target for our scope 1 and 2 emissions and committing to a full scope 3 analysis and target setting within a 2-year time frame
  • We are showing climate leadership within our supply chain with the development and adoption of Supplier Responsibility Standards, and working with our transport partners to optimise logistics and reduce our transport emissions
  • We were inaugural members of a New Zealand group of companies committed to fighting climate change called the Climate leaders coalition – this requires us to commit to a science aligned target and to publicly report our emissions – this is a subgroup of the Sustainable Business Council
  • We are working with all our farmers to support their participation in the NZFAP+ farm assurance programme and have a target to on-board 200 farms this year. Complementary to this, we are increasing our Silver Fern Farms on-farm extension support to assist our farmers to plan, manage and report their on-farm sustainability practices
  • In 2019 we undertook a carbon pilot with a group of suppliers to understand how we could integrate low carbon or zero carbon supply into our product range and to raise awareness among suppliers of the need to measure and reduce emissions over time – this is now the basis for our world leading Net Carbon Zero product range
  • We are committed to supporting nature-positive farming and have adopted eight regenerative agriculture principles that underpin this, including reducing on-farm carbon footprint and optimising biodiversity
  • We have 40 farms participating in a customised programme to support enhanced on-farm biodiversity
  • Starting in 2022, we will be making regular climate-related disclosures based upon the international TCFD framework
  • We are currently working closely with our industry partners on the He Waka Eke Noa agricultural emissions pricing scheme to begin in 2025