Pāmu has reached its goal of 50% of farms achieving Toitū carbonreduce farm certification by June 2023. This milestone means Pāmu is on track to meet its ambitious goal of 100% of its farms achieving Toitū carbonreduce certification by next year.
The largest farming group in New Zealand, Pāmu (Landcorp Farming Limited), manages over 100 farms, totalling close to 360,000 hectares spanning sheep, beef, dairy, deer, forestry, and horticulture.
“Pāmu has set the goal of achieving Toitū certification across the entire farm portfolio by June 2024. The process is supporting us to really understand where emissions are generated so we can focus on reduction,” says Pāmu CEO Mark Leslie.
To achieve Toitū carbonreduce farm certification, operational greenhouse gas emissions are calculated for each farm, and a plan to manage and reduce them is developed. The certification, which meets international standards, requires detailed annual data and independent verification of measurement and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This demonstrates the good work farmers do each year on their emissions reduction journey, a consumer demand that is increasing. It is also a key driver for meeting the conditions of the State Owned Enterprise’s two sustainability-linked loans.
“Our strategy to reach our goals has a two-pronged approach,” says Sam Bridgman, Pāmu Head of Sustainability.
“For the first part, the Toitū certification gives us a clear framework and guidelines to work with each farm, to identify emission sources, where reduction opportunities are, and what we can do. For the second part, we are fortunate to have the scale and diversity of farming operations across the motu to test and develop longer-term solutions to emissions reduction. This in turn is of value to the wider farming community as we share our experiences and data.”
Teressa Betty, Kaiwhakahaere Matua CEO of Toitū Envirocare, says that what sets this activity apart is its voluntary nature and the proactive action of Pāmu.
“Our whenua is critical to Aotearoa New Zealand’s ecosystem and livelihood. Pāmu is showing real climate leadership by taking accountability and working to understand their impact across farms. Achieving Toitū carbonreduce farm certification requires not only measuring to international best practice but also reflects a firm commitment to reducing emissions as a mandatory part of the programme,” she says.
An example of the steps Pāmu is taking to tackle climate change is the partnership through its subsidiary Focus Genetics with research and commercial entities including AgResearch, Massey University, LIC and CRV, developing breeding stock that emit lower methane levels.
Pāmu is also focused on productivity gains, and diversification, and has shifted several dairy farms to organic farms. As part of its commitment to nurturing and restoring the land on which they farm, there is a country-wide programme of retiring marginal land, establishing a mixture of plantation or native forestry for improved carbon sequestration, and extensive waterway fencing and riparian planting.
Sam Bridgman says the process so far has highlighted the need to improve data collection and improve understanding of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Some of our existing systems have been challenged by the level of accuracy needed. Toitū has driven us to improve. In addition, we are running education and engagement sessions on greenhouse gas topics for our business and farm managers,” he says.
In 2022, Pāmu farms contributed 0.71m gross metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and sequestered approximately 0.3m metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Pāmu is the brand name for Landcorp Farming Limited, a State Owned Enterprise with more than 100 farms across the motu. Pāmu strives to be a leader in New Zealand agriculture and is focused on running as a profitable and efficient business, with an emphasis on sustainability, innovation, and as a safe, responsible employer. Pāmu has the scale and position to drive innovation. Amongst other things, the Government has tasked it with meeting the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
About Toitū Envirocare
Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research’s scientific expertise is available as a commercial offering through Toitū Envirocare. As a wholly-owned subsidiary, Toitū leads positive change for businesses through internationally recognised carbon and environmental programmes, based on science and backed by evidence.