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Is Innovative Food Tech Key to NZ Reducing Carbon Footprint & Meeting Global Food Market Demands?

In the rapidly changing global food market, New Zealand faces significant pressure to bring its agricultural exports into line with international sustainability expectations.


According to a report by law firm, Chapman Tripp for The Aotearoa Circle, over 80% of the nation's export value is destined for countries with stringent climate-related disclosures (CRD), revealing the urgent need for adaptation in export practices.


The "Protecting New Zealand’s Competitive Advantage" report highlights the mounting requirements for ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) capabilities and the introduction of mechanisms like the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. Such measures charge exports based on embedded emissions, pushing New Zealand food exporters to rethink their environmental impact.


Generic cows in paddock

Source: Public Domain


The good news? The advent of innovative food technologies like precision fermentation, cultivated meat, and plant-based products presents a promising solution. These technologies significantly reduce the reliance on land, cutting down the use of nitrogen fertilisers and mitigating nutrient run-off into water bodies. This not only lessens the environmental burden but also positions New Zealand favorably in a market that increasingly values sustainability. Pasture land can be converted to high protein lupin and other bean, pea and pulse production.


Simon Tucker, Director of Global Sustainability at Fonterra, (ironically NZ's largest polluter) is quoted as supporting this shift, noting the growing number of customers with science-based climate targets who demand suppliers align with these green objectives. The push towards innovative food solutions is not just about compliance but also about harnessing new opportunities for cleaner, more efficient production methods that benefit both the planet and the economy.


Many of New Zealand's largest emitters are agrifood companies.


Environmental Protection Authority Emmissions Chart

Source: Environmental Protection Authority • Chart: Marc Daalder


The report highlights these innovations are crucial in meeting the sophisticated environmental standards set by trade agreements and private sector frameworks, such as those by international supermarkets, forinstance. With the majority of the world's GDP now under mandatory CRD measures, New Zealand must leverage these food technologies to maintain its competitive edge and ensure sustainable prosperity.


This movement towards "Earth Positive" food solutions represents a transformative shift in how New Zealand approaches its agricultural export strategy, promising a greener, more sustainable future in line with global market demands...and it must get on with supporting this innovation at government and VC level.


For more information and to download the report CLICK HERE


ENDS:

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