Speaking at Fonterra’s annual general meeting yesterday, Hurrell noted that the last 12 months showed “that there may be bumps along the way”.
“But we remain committed to the goals we set ourselves 12 months ago,” he says.
The strategy includes pouring $1 billion into sustainability, $1b into moving milk into higher value products, boosting R&D spend and making $2b available for investment in a mix of future growth – including opportunities for nutrition science – and return for shareholders.
Hurrell says demand for Fonterra’s sustainable, nutritious dairy remains strong.
“We made three strategic choices – to focus on our NZ milk, to lead in innovation and science and to lead in sustainability.
“These choices are guiding our business and every single decision we’re making.
“I’m pleased with the progress to date. Success for us means allocating our scarce resource – those precious milk solids – where they will deliver the greatest value.”
Hurrell says Fonterra’s Active Living business continues to grow.
“The allocation of milk to our Foodservice channel continues to grow, with innovation expanding the uses of our UHT cream within our Anchor Food Professionals brand.
“We continue to make progress on the sale of our Soprole business which of course underpins the capital return we’ve discussed previously.”
Hurrell says the co-op has completed the review of its Australian business and decided that long-term, it’s in their best interet to maintain full ownership.
He says sustainability sits at the heart of our strategy.
“And we continue to make good progress. The public/private partnership between our sector and the Government to address the methane challenge builds on some of the sustainability work we’re already doing.
“Of course you, our farmer owners, have created a natural advantage in the sustainability stakes.
“It means we have a carbon footprint less than one third of the global average.”
But Hurrell warned farmers that the industry can’t sit back.
“Customers and consumers expect more and doing nothing simply isn’t an option.
“We need to maintain this advantage and keep pace with their expectations. I know that comes at a cost and at a time when change seems to be the only constant.
“But this is why we are part of a co-operative. We exist because of you and for you. That’s why we’ll continue to work with Government on their proposals for He Waka Eke Noa to ensure your voices are heard.”