Week in Review
In Aotearoa in line with some overseas supermarkets, Countdown has invited all their suppliers to join their emissions reporting programme. Part of Countdown's wider sustainability plan includes a commitment to reduce supplier emissions by 19% by 2030. Of Countdown and Woolworths NZ's carbon footprint in 2022, 98% was due to supplier emissions. Also announced by Countdown this week, the supermarket will allocate $400 million to rebrand its stores to Woolworths, introduce a new loyalty program, and improve its fresh product range from early 2024. New proposed fishing regulations to safeguard the depleted fisheries in the Fiordland Marine Area have been approved by government and are under consultation. The suggested changes involve lowering daily species and bag limits, shutting down oyster and scallop fishing, and implementing stricter fishing zones. Biosecurity New Zealand has confirmed through DNA testing that the newest pest, the freshwater gold clam, has not spread beyond its initial discovery location in the Waikato River near Lake Karāpiro. The clams can clog up waterways, irrigation pipes, and negatively affect freshwater habitats.
In international news Queensland state government is teaming up with industry to co-fund grants totalling AUD 1.7 million to increase the exports of agricultural products to diverse international markets. In Canada the government has approved the United Kingdom to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Canadian beef and pork sectors are urging politicians to reject the decision unless a bilateral agreement guarantees fair access for Canadian producers and processors. Their issue is that the UK refuses to accept Canada's meat inspection and food safety systems as equivalent, which has created a non-tariff barrier for market access. The recent heatwave in Southern Europe is creating a crisis for the international olive oil industry, it is expected to cause a second bad harvest and potential shortages on shelves this autumn. The world's largest olive oil producer, Spain, is predicted to produce only 850,000 tonnes of olive oil, significantly less than its usual 1.3 million tonnes of production.
- supermarkets put farmers on notice they will have to provide farm specific emissions data
- Final Countdown: Supermarket giant rebranding back to Woolworths at cost of $400 million
- Marine conservationist hopeful about new Fiordland fishing limits
- DNA shows Waikato River freshwater gold clam hasn’t spread
- Food and fibre grants to grow Queensland’s agri-food exports
- U.K. gets Canada’s nod to join CPTPP, much to the chagrin of red meat industries
- Olive oil industry in crisis as Europe’s heatwave threatens another harvest | Food & drink industry
CRISPR breeds greener poplar trees [17 July, Futurity]
Researchers at North Carolina State University have used CRISPR gene-editing technology to breed poplar trees with lower levels of lignin, a major barrier to sustainable wood fibre production. Through machine-learning, modelling researchers were able to identify the most effective combinations of genes, sorting through nearly 70,000 different gene-editing strategies. The resulting trees had 35% less lignin than wild trees. The researchers will test performance of gene-edited trees in greenhouses and then conduct field trials to assess the gene-edited trees in outdoor environments and how they withstand the stresses associated with it.
Major new seed certification set to launch [19 July, Farmers Weekly]
New Zealand is upgrading its seed certification system with a world-first digital system, set to launch next month. The NZ Seeds Authority (NZSA) designed the new platform to replace the current paper-based system introduced in 1929. The aim is to protect and grow the country's $400m seed industry while reinforcing its reputation as a trusted producer of true-to-type seed. The digital system uses mapping technology to verify the area, location, and paddock history of certified seed crops. The Ministry for Primary Industries and AsureQuality collaborated with NZSA to develop the new Seed Certification Information System, which will enable growers to complete all administration online and access smart tools to check their crop applications' eligibility for certification.
ETS changes could open legal can of worms [17 July, Farmers Weekly]
The New Zealand high court has directed the government to reconsider its decisions on Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) settings. Lawyers for Climate Action New Zealand Inc (LCANZI) successfully proved during a judicial review that the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) settings were not aligned with the government's emissions goals and the commitments made under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming. The ruling does not remove a number of the uncertainties in the ETS review, and both lawyers and foresters have warned that if ministers proceed with retrospective changes, it is highly likely to attract further legal action, especially from Māori forest owners. A lack of buyers in the carbon market is due to uncertainty over the ETS's future and forestry's role, the high court ruling could potentially restore confidence in the carbon market.
Tags: Environment & Emissions
The first cargo ship running on green methanol is setting sail [17 July, Fast Company]
Maersk, one of the world's largest shipping companies, has launched the first-ever container ship to run on green methanol made from methane extracted from food waste at landfills. The move marks a significant step forward in the shipping industry's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and address the global climate crisis. Green methanol can cut a ship's emissions by 65-70%, and it is a feasible and an immediate action that can help address the shipping industry's contribution to global emissions. By the end of the decade, Maersk plans to transport a quarter of its ocean cargo using green fuels. The shipping industry is aiming to hit a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, though Maersk wants to reach it a decade earlier.
Tags: Research & Development
Green Pakistan Initiative and corporate agriculture [16 July, TNS]
In Pakistan this week, the Green Pakistan Initiative (GPI) was launched with the support of the Pakistan Army, aimed at mobilising investment into land development and modernising agricultural practices. The initiative will focus on developing uncultivated farm areas through land development, irrigation systems and precision farming. Pakistan has 8.2 million hectares of culturable wasteland (uncultivated land fit to be cultivated and farmed), and modernising and corporatizing agricultural practices is seen as both an economic revival opportunity, as well as ensuring future food security for the nation. The Land Information and Management System (LIMS) was also launched earlier in the week, which uses modern survey systems, geo informatics, and precision agriculture tools to make resource use more efficient.
Tags: Rural Communities
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