In The Wash
Silver Fern Farms: Net Carbon Zero by Nature
As New Zealand’s biggest beef producer, measures taken to reduce emissions in relation to this product range are a drop in the ocean for Silver Fern Farms.
The company highlights ‘on-farm carbon sequestration including native and riparian planting’. However, such natural carbon sequestration is difficult to measure and no figures are provided.
They state that:
‘[u]sing satellite technology and machine learning we then identify on-farm permanent vegetation that is absorbing the equivalent amount of Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. We then contract and purchase this carbon from farmers to account for all of the emissions associated with the meat produced within the program.’
From this description it is unclear how the offsets they claim to be supporting on their farms meet the essential criteria of additionally (meaning they wouldn’t have otherwise happened). It seems that they are paying for sequestration that is already happening and then using this to market some of their products to consumers as net zero carbon.
As a beef-producing company that plans, by their own admission, to continue using coal until 2030, a better focus would be to adopt and implement an ambitious and credible plan to reduce the emissions from their own supply chains.
Doesn't reflect the full life cycle