Sustainability 2

SUSTAINABILITY MUST GAIN A FIRMER HOLD

A (value-)chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

A (value) chain is only as strong as its weakest link

At AGRANA we aim to continuously improve all aspects of the company. As a result, when it comes to sustainability, we do not call it a day once we have taken care of the basics – we strive to achieve even better performance and results.

Energy and environmental factors in our production operations

In the course of our assessment of the carbon footprints of our products, which we have carried out since 2010, we found that the preliminary agricultural stage and the energy consumed during production each accounted for around 30% of these footprints.

Consequently, one of our environmental priorities is reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency at our plants by introducing energy management systems geared towards standards such as ISO 50001.

We go one step further when constructing new production facilities. For instance, our new plant in Lysander in the United States was designed and built in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria. We look forward to receiving official LEED certification of what is our first “green factory”. LEED is an independent sustainability certification system. From the project development phase onwards, it emphasises the creation of benefits for society as a whole, on the basis of questions such as: how can the design benefit employees, consumers, stakeholders and the community in which the company operates? How can resources be used efficiently with a view to protecting the environment? And how can profitability and shareholder value be increased in the process?

These questions are reflected in the following activities: 

  • Energy efficiency: we use stack economisers to capture waste heat for warm water supply.
  • Water consumption: our facilities use low flow and flush fixtures, which reduce both water consumption and wastage.
  • Recycling: During the building phase, construction and demolition waste was recycled, and containers and barrels are being returned to the suppliers in the course of continuous operations. 

A (value) chain is only as strong as its weakest link

For this reason, several years ago AGRANA defined minimum social standards, based on those of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), as part of its code of conduct. The company’s own operations and those of its suppliers are required to comply with these standards. The revised code contains an obligation to comply with all applicable local laws, as well as provisions on corruption, conflicts of interest, fair competition, the prohibition of discrimination, pay and remuneration, working hours, a ban on child and forced labour, freedom of assembly, collective bargaining, and health and workplace safety. 

The new Lysander plant is also a role model in this respect. Our employees receive a broad package of health benefits, including free annual health check-ups including blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index (BMI) tests, and free flu vaccinations for employees and their partners. A separate programme is designed to ensure that employees who are unable to afford essential medication receive the necessary prescriptions.

Our Aetna Wellness programme allows employees to assess their own health using an online platform, and also provides support on topics such as exercise and diet, as well as access to specialist literature.

Since 2009 AGRANA Fruit’s Sedex (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) database has been providing customers with information on four key aspects (labour standards, health and safety issues, the environment and business practices) for each of the company’s production sites, with an emphasis on social criteria. The information can be audited by customers or commissioned third parties in the course of Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audits (SMETAs). 

How do we publicise sustainability?

Every single day, and in our collaboration with suppliers, customers, people living close to our production facilities, public authorities and the media - we communicate with our stakeholders. Since the end of the 2012/213 financial year, summaries of the matters we discuss and the joint solutions we devise have been available in the AGRANA Group annual report, which was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards.

As part of the Sustainable Berry Supply project, over 1,000 employees of Mexican agribusinesses received training in sustainable agricultural practices from agronomists. Workplace safety measures were implemented in collaboration with local Red Cross chapters. The participating companies were also giving financial and planning support for the installation of 28 portable sanitary facilities designed to promote safe and hygienic conditions in the fields. Over 5,000 trees as well as crops were planted in the course of the initiative to provide natural protection against erosion and enhance biodiversity.

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