Thursday, 08 February 2024 09:55

Co-op decarbonisation leader's Antarctic trip

Written by  Staff Reporters
Linda Mulvihill, Fonterra’s general manager energy & climate, did a 19-day voyage to Antarctica late last year. Linda Mulvihill, Fonterra’s general manager energy & climate, did a 19-day voyage to Antarctica late last year.

At the beginning of November 2023, Linda Mulvihill, Fonterra’s general manager energy & climate, flew to Ushuaia, Argentina, where she boarded a ship and began a 19-day voyage to Antarctica.

“It takes two days to travel from Ushuaia across the Drake Passage, which is known for being very tumultuous – it was bumpy,” says Mulvihill.

The trip was part of Homeward Bound, a global leadership programme for women with a STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine) background and included a one-year online course and expedition to Antarctica.

The purpose of the Homeward Bound programme is to create a diverse group of leaders in STEMM who are equipped with the skills required to navigate the changing world we live in today.

Mulvihill was the only New Zealand woman selected for her cohort in the global programme, which was originally postponed due to Covid.

During the voyage, Mulvihill learnt about leadership, strategy, and collaboration, with seminars including strategy, generative dialogue, systems thinking, planetary boundaries, polyvagal theory, policy, eco-grief, and many Antarctica topics.

At Fonterra, Mulvihill leads the co-op’s decarbonisations strategy, which includes the conversion of coal boilers to wood pellets that is currently underway at Fonterra’s Hautapu site and the transition to wood biomass at Waitoa.

Arriving in Antarctica, participants were met with a challenging and inspiring backdrop.

The earth’s southern- most continent has experienced some of the greatest warming on earth over the last 50 years and is central to understanding the global impacts of climate change.

“We saw humpback whales two metres off the ship, which was incredible. It was also special to see penguins in their home – it was mating season, so we saw them building nests, and the males bringing pebbles to the females, which is part of their mating ritual.”

Whilst in Antarctica, Mulvihill also took part in the ‘polar plunge’ (jumping into near-freezing water that was approx. -1°C) to raise money for three charities that she is passionate about: Endometriosis New Zealand, Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, and RestoreNative.

Mulvihill hopes to bring back to the cooperative stories of hope about what can be done to improve our planet, as well as a renewed focus and passion to continue to make a difference in her role as a leader in energy and climate.

Now back in New Zealand, Mulvihill is training for the kayak leg of Coast to Coast, which takes place in February.

“I’m a very driven person, and I love pushing myself. I often ask myself why I want to keep doing so many things, there are so many great things to be done and I don’t want to miss out,” she says.

More like this

Fonterra's in good shape

Fonterra released its interim results last month, showing a continuation of the strong earnings performance delivered by the co-op through the 2023 financial year. Here’s what Fonterra chair Peter McBride and chief executive Miles Hurrell said about the results…

China trade

OPINION: Last week's revelation that data relating to New Zealand MPs was stolen amid Chinese state-sponsored cyber espionage targeting two arms of the country’s Parliament could test the long-standing trade relations between the two countries.


Feds back Fast-Track Approval Bill

Federated Farmers is throwing its support behind the Fast-track Approvals Bill introduced by the Coalition Government to enable a fast-track decision-making process for infrastructure and development projects.


Frontline biosecurity 'untouchable'

Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard has reiterated that 'frontline' biosecurity services within Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will not be cut…

Machinery & Products

New name, new ideas

KGM New Zealand, is part of the London headquartered Inchcape Group, who increased its NZ presence in August 2023 with…

All-terrain fert spreading mode

Effluent specialists the Samson Group have developed a new double unloading system to help optimise uphill and downhill organic fertiliser…

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Plant-based bubble bursts

OPINION: Talking about plant-based food: “Chicken-free chicken” start-up Sunfed has had its valuation slashed to zero by major investor Blackbird…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter