Doing milk differently
for a healthier world

Our Commitment

“At the heart of who we are is a vision for people, land and communities to thrive. We have an opportunity to make a real difference as we continue to grow and contribute to a sustainable future for New Zealand. We’re just at the start of our
journey, but we’re sure we can make a difference.”

John Penno Co-Founder, Inaugural CEO and Director.



Our goal is for Synlait’s net business impact to be positive for the planet, with restorative and regenerative agriculture, manufacturing and supply chain processes. Achieving this goal means re-imagining all aspects of our business.

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We’re creating opportunities for all to thrive. And by building a fan base for our ambition, commitment and actions, together we have the ability to transform our industry, benefit our country and leave a legacy
for future generations.

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We serve milk nutrition for modern life, worldwide. Our pioneering mindset drives us to do bigger things, to stand for more, to play a bigger role and to return an economic glow
to New Zealand.

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Our Strategy

In June 2018 we announced our renewed commitment to sustainability across three pillars of activity:
Environment, People and Enterprise. For more information read our Sustainability at Synlait report – FY20.





Targeting Zero Carbon

To align with our purpose of ‘doing milk differently, for a healthier world’ we identified a series of climate change targets. To ensure we are transparent in reaching these goals Synlait will now report its greenhouse gas emissions in a third-party
audited report, annually.

You can access our FY20 GHG Inventory Report here.

Off-farm GHG action

Our 2018 impact: 157,148 tons of off-farm
CO2-eq emissions

Our goal: 50% reduction in total greenhouse gases per kilogram of product by 2028.

We’re taking on climate change because we care about the ability for future generations to thrive. We also recognise New Zealand’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and, as a major emitter, seek to make a meaningful contribution to that target. We’re re-imagining all aspects of our business for a
low-emissions future.

On-farm GHG action

Our 2018 impact: 755,583 tons of on-farm CO2-eq emissions

Our goal: 35% reduction in total greenhouse gases per kilogram of milk solids by 2028.

Farms supplying Synlait represent approximately 86% of Synlait’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The consensus view has been that little can be done to reduce on-farm emissions. This view no longer holds true. Breakthrough technology paired with best practice management can result in substantial emissions reductions. Our
staff and farmers are galvanized
around leading change.

Moving away from coal

We installed New Zealand’s first electrode boiler in our advanced liquids plant in April 2019. Running on renewable electricity, this technology will prevent the emissions equivalent of 9,600 households per year versus a coal boiler. We’re also committed to reducing our existing coal usage, and will never build
another coal boiler.

Animal health and welfare

We value our dairy animals as a sentient cornerstone of our healthy food products. Through exceptional farming stewardship we strive for all of our dairy cows to experience a life of great health and positive wellbeing. We support our supplier farmers in achieving and maintaining this goal. The Animal Health and Welfare pillar of Lead With Pride™ is about setting stockmanship expectations, providing good farm infrastructure, and ensuring health protocols are followed to meet or exceed industry best practice outcomes.

Off-farm water reduction

Our 2018 impact: 3,425,157 m3 of water used

Our goals: 20% reduction in water use per kilogram of milk solids by 2028. 20% improvement in the quality of waste water.

New Zealand has spoken loud and clear about its views of the industrial and commercial use of water and the current and likely future state of waterways. We recognise the challenges and are committed to playing a substantial role in better stewardship of water. We’re setting out to reduce the volume of water we use through all aspects of our manufacturing process. We’re also improving the quality of the waste water that leaves our factory.

On-farm water reduction

Our goals: 20% reduction in water use per kilogram of milk solids by 2028. 45% reduction in nitrogen loss to waterways per kilogram of milk solids by 2028.

In addition to using less, we seek to eliminate our contribution to the degradation of waterways in the catchment areas
of our operations.

Energy Efficiency

Our 2018 impact: 1,581,038 GJ of energy used

In December 2018, we carried out an energy audit of our Dunsandel site to better understand our energy consumption and explore opportunities for reduction. Several options are being studied, such as the installation of high temperature heat pumps and exhaust heat recovery systems. At Pokeno, our future site’s boiler will also present several energy-efficiency features.

Circular Economy

Our 2018 impact: 2,566 tons of manufacturing waste produced 

We believe we must contribute to a more circular economy, both at manufacturing and end-consumer levels. Last year, more than 85% of our production waste was recycled and we strive to increase that rate still further. At consumer level, we are working with some of our major clients to design innovative and circular packaging solutions for our products.


Health, safety and wellness

Our 2018 performance: Total Recordable Incident Frequency Rate (TRIFR) of 18.9

Our goal: TRIFR down to 12.5 by the
end of July 2019

Everything starts with care for our people. Synlait is committed to “Everyone Home Safe, Every Day”. To do this we ensure that health, safety and wellness is integrated into daily life. We’re focused on further improvements and have identified five critical risks as our top priorities. Progress on mitigation for each is reported on a monthly basis.

Talent attraction and development

Our 2018 performance: 3.75:1 engagement ratio (ratio of engaged staff to actively disengaged staff)

Our goal: 5:1 ratio by the end of July 2019

Building an engaged, capable, and passionate team underpins our performance. Our focus on employee engagement in recent years continues to show positive results. We have also just launched our first Future Leaders programme, to meet the future leadership needs of the business. The aim is to fill a pipeline of high potential people, capable of leading the business now and
in the years to come.


Synlait aspires to employ and embrace a diverse range of talent to reflect the diversity of the consumer landscape in the markets that we serve. Attracting, developing and retaining those talents is crucial for the success of our business. We believe that our ability to innovate and grow is rooted in the diversity of thought and creativity of our people. Our Diversity and Inclusion Policy empowers and equips our people leaders to foster a diverse and competent workplace.

Thriving Farmers and farm workers

The greatest potential on any farm lies in its people. High performing farms are made possible through robust management and the employment of engaged, motivated and well-trained teams. Our acclaimed Lead With Pride™ programme supports farms to set clear objectives, select the right people, train and develop them and keep the team safe.

Thriving communities

Our dairy farmers and employees, alongside other New Zealanders, depend upon the rural communities they live in. Via our supplying farmers, we significantly contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of these communities. Our community investment programme will provide financial support and mentoring for local groups that share our commitment to local eco-systems such as
river health and biodiversity.


Business partnerships

We leverage our sustainability credentials and ambition to form deep partnerships with customers that share our purpose-led philosophy and vision for people, communities and land thriving. By demonstrating purposefulness every day in running our business, we continue to build the depth and breadth of our customer base.

Investment in innovation

Over the past 12 months we have significantly stepped up our focused research and development effort. This is supporting our existing ingredient and infant formula businesses, and is helping us prepare for new market opportunities. We target investment in R+D of 1.5% of revenue.

Food safety and Quality

We are dedicated to manufacturing food products that provide genuine benefits for human health and wellbeing. Our factories uphold the highest of standards for quality and safety. We have invested heavily in a food safety strategy that mandates rigorous testing for the absence of microbial and chemical contaminants. Our people receive all relevant food safety and quality training so they can perform their jobs with care and confidence.

Sustainable supply

We work with supply chain partners that share and act upon our view of environmental, social and economic sustainability. Our supply chain begins with milk sourced from around 200 farms, and ingredients and packaging sourced from suppliers that uphold the highest standards of ethics and sustainability. Our supply chain ends with the safe post-consumer disposal of packaging.

Accountability and transparency

We seek success beyond profit. We will follow one of our strategic partners, Danone, in seeking B Corp certification and in doing so will join a cohort of iconic companies who share a view that business should be a force for good in the world. Certified B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

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