Supermarket heavy weight punches down on Kiwi farmers - time to boycott
This week, the Head of Sustainability for supermarket giant Countdown was published in the media discussing the company’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint.
“Companies should be assessing their impacts on our environment. However, instead of looking at how they, an Australian-owned multinational with 194 stores New Zealand-wide, can reduce their emissions, they have decided to blame farmers,” Groundswell NZ co-founder Bryce McKenzie says.
“It is, unfortunately, a narrative New Zealand’s food producers are all too familiar with. Accustomed to being the Government’s environment scapegoat, farmers and rural communities are hardly surprised to see big corporate players dancing to the same tune.
“Groundswell NZ are very sceptical of Countdown’s claim that most of their emissions are the fault of local suppliers. This is a massive chain operation that utilises refrigerants, has massive distribution networks requiring a great deal of fuel, and substantial energy costs to run nearly 200 stores. They also import huge amounts of products from overseas, relying on air and sea travel. They cannot expect us to believe that they are practically carbon neutral except for emissions that farmers are responsible for.
“Countdown also uses GWP100 to calculate emissions which is an outdated and less accurate way to measure methane emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have reported that using the GWP100 method overestimates methane’s warming potential by 3-4 times. They advocate for the use of the updated GWP* metric and for accounting correctly for carbon sequestered on farms through trees, bush, crops, grass, and soil.
“We call BS on Countdown’s buck passing and suggest they substantiate their claims. Following that they might like to reflect on why they had to push out their own zero-waste-to-landfill target from 2020 to 2025 while spending $400million on a rebrand.
“New Zealand’s farmers are among the most efficient in the world. We pride ourselves on our sustainable practices and the care we take of our environment. It is fair to say that as a community we are sick to death of being the scapegoats of governments and big corporations who don’t want to take responsibility for their own environmental impacts.
“So we have decided to take action. From Monday 24th July to Sunday 7th August, Groundswell NZ will be calling on our supporters to join us in boycotting Countdown. We, the food producers of New Zealand, have had enough."