As a leading company in sustainable agriculture and water technology at a global level, the role we play in society is far greater than the sum of the products we sell. With our technology we are able to transform lives, conserve planetary resources and contribute to economic growth, all at the same time. Our commitment to supporting the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) LEAD initiative and CEO Water Mandate are unfaltering and we continue to invest in collaboration with many different partners in order to drive breakthrough solutions.
It’s important for our stakeholders that we also demonstrate transparency, so that our global community, including the UNGC, regulators, customers, dealers, employees, suppliers and community groups, will know that they can trust us to behave responsibly and ethically in all that we do.
Since 2009, we have been reporting on our sustainability performance with a full Sustainability Report, written in accordance with the leading global reporting framework, the Global Reporting initiative (GRI) every two years, and a standalone Communication on Progress (COP) demonstrating how we have advanced the UNCG principles of responsible business, in the interim years. Just recently, we published our COP for 2014.
The 2014 COP covers 21 UNGC LEAD criteria and references Netafim’s 2020 Sustainability Strategy that was defined in 2014. We continue to advance in all key areas of this strategy and will include an update of performance in our next full Sustainability Report to be published in 2016.
Here are a few examples of our positive impact from our 2014 COP:
Breakthrough use of drip irrigation for rice
Rice is a major crop of which the majority is grown by smallholder farmers. Drip irrigation is a solution to increasing rice yields while using fewer resources, resulting in lower cost for land preparation and fertilizers, lower greenhouse gas emissions and less physical labor. Through our research initiatives in many countries, we are identifying the optimum irrigation conditions in each country in order to improve yields and food avaiability.
Transforming livelihoods in Karnataka, India
Netafim India is installing drip irrigation across 11,700 hectares of land as part of Karnataka’s community irrigation initiative in India, and providing crop management tools and training for local farmers. Using water-efficient drip irrigation, double the land-area originally planned for the program can be developed and thousands of farmers are benefiting from this initiative and developing thriving livelihoods.
Supporting food and environmental education in Australia
Though Netafim Australia, we continued to support sustainable food education by donating drip irrigation kits to school kitchen gardens. Kitchen gardens facilitate food education, offering fun experiences that fully involve children, parents and teachers. Today, our irrigation kits are in place in around 60 primary schools in Australia and New Zealand.
Advancing environmental stewardship in our own operations
Our prime contribution to environmental stewardship is promoting awareness and the use of precision irrigation systems for sustainable productivity, enabling farmers worldwide to grow more with less. However, the way we conserve resources in our own manufacturing and logistics operations is equally important – we maintain 16 factories and assembly plants across the world and sell our products in 110 countries.
In 2014, our global performance versus 2013 showed improvements across key environmental metrics:
• -1% electricity consumption
• – 6% greenhouse gas emissions
• -17% water withdrawal
• -23% waste generated.
60% of our total waste was reused or recycled.
Upholding human rights and caring for our employees
We continue to advance our Code of Ethics, invest in employee dialogue, performance reviews and training and development, workplace safety and diversity and inclusion in our workplace. We uphold our commitment to the UNGC principles of freedom of association, elimination of child labor and forced labor and opposition to discrimination in all its forms.
Publishing our Communication on Progress is an important aspect of our role as a responsible business with a vested interest in improving our social and environmental contribution. We hope you will take a look – you can view the COP here.
We welcome your feedback!
(Parts of this post are shared with a post by Elaine Cohen, Netafim’s sustainability and reporting consultant, on the CSR Reporting Blog covering Netafim’s COP and other stories from 2015. That post is available here.)