At the center of our Environmental, Social Responsibility and Governance commitment is the principle of Sustainable Agriculture. While this concept has been used by many to mean many things, we have given it a very clear meaning. In our parlance, Sustainable Agriculture is broad enough to encompass a comprehensive ESG program, but clear enough to give us direction in our outlook and purpose in our activities.
Access to food is a basic human right and is at the core of our commitment to sustainable agriculture. All people should be able to rely on a stable, affordable food supply both now and into the future. We are committed to meeting that need upon a foundation of social responsibility and equity. In that vein, we believe that sustainable agriculture must include these three principles:
Climate Equity – as outlined in our Climate Change Commitment (click on the icon in the right pane), we are committed to making enterprise-wide, progressive and measurable efforts toward helping to arrest the trend of global warming. In making decisions, taking actions and conducting our operations we are mindful of climate equity, which holds that climate change has three primary effects – generational, regional and individual. To that end, we believe that reducing our carbon footprint and, through our products and services, enabling others to do so will advance climate equity consistent with the 2-degree warmer world as per the Paris Agreement. Whether in terms of eco-friendly products – such as natural oils from Envance (used in Proctor & Gamble’s Zevo product line), microbial High Yield solutions from Agrinos (that enhance soil health and promote carbon sequestration) or tailored bionutritional products from Greenplants – or delivery systems, such as our SIMPAS precision application system that maximizes yield while minimizing the environmental footprint – we are endeavoring to making the planet a better place than we found it.
Environmental Equity – we recognize that our planet has limited resources and that what we do with them has an effect on the habitat for both humans and other species, both for today and tomorrow. We also recognize that our activities can affect the environment generationally, regionally and individually. We are, therefore, committed to environmental equity in our operations. Specifically, and as more fully outlined in our sustainability reports (click on the icon in the right pane), we seek to conserve finite resources such as water, land and energy while protecting the environment and enhancing biodiversity, so that these resources are available in amounts and quality to support our neighbors and future generations. In addition, we have committed significant resources toward supporting growers with precision application technology – like SIMPAS and Ultimus – that enable growers to manage, optimize and trace the use of crop and soil inputs, and to use only what is needed, precisely where it is needed. And we are mindful of those who might be disproportionately affected by what we do, such as loaders and applicators of our products. To that end, we have been at the forefront of user-friendly, closed delivery systems (from Lock ‘n Load to SMARTBox to SIMPAS/SmartCartridges) to minimize exposure and maximize safety for those on-the-ground.
Food Equity – we are committed to the proposition that access to food is a basic human right. Implicit in that commitment is the principle of food equity, which has three aspects, once again, generational, regional and individual. First, food security – we believe it is essential to ensure the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the Ag industry. We contribute toward food security by investing in eco-friendly solutions and in new technology, like SIMPAS, that give growers the best tools possible to ensure that their operations are viable, both today and tomorrow. Second, food availability – ensuring that food gets from field to table. As we saw in the pandemic, the supply chain for food can be broken, and those who suffer most are often those farthest from the fields. To that end, we support farm-to-field efforts and programs to reduce food waste. Third, food affordability – ensuring that food prices can be maintained for all, including the impoverished. We do this by giving farmers effective tools, including precision application equipment, that optimize their costs, boost their yield, and enable them to produce and market food at reasonable prices.
Social Responsibility – our discussion of Sustainable Agriculture would not be complete without specific mention of our commitment to social responsibility. This concept is inherent in all forms of equity, be they climate, environmental or food related. However, social responsibility gives us pause to consider factors of a more fundamental nature, such as human rights. Our Human Rights Policy (click on the icon in the right pane) details our essential belief that we respect and support human rights, both within and without our operations. We believe that it is fundamental to our corporate responsibility and, indeed, to our humanity, that we recognize, respect and nurture the freedom and dignity of all persons. To that end, we support the tenets of the International Bill of Human Rights, including the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN framework on Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights (which is one section of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) and the UN International Labor Organization on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
Under the umbrella of Sustainable Agriculture, we are committed to operating our business with a sense of mindfulness – toward the climate, toward the environment and toward the good of humans and other species. We consider ourselves to be part of a broader mission – one of ensuring that people can rely upon a stable, affordable food supply both now and in the future. It is a privilege to be part of that mission. With that privilege comes responsibility, and we take that responsibility seriously.