• Grow Sustainably™ website launched (March 2004)

  • OECD Expert Meeting On Farm Management Indicators And The Environment, Palmerston North, New Zealand (8-12 March 2004)

  • Contract with one of Australia's largest wine companies to develop a sustainable footprint program (December 2003)

  • OE requested to facilitate sustainable agricultural programs in Brazil and Greece for Unilever (December 2003)

  • Bega Cheese EMS (December 2003)

  • OE speaks at the Environment Management Systems and Agriculture Conference (November 2003)

  • OE speaks at the World Tomato Congress and International Symposium for Processing Tomatoes (June 2002)

  • Grow Sustainably™ website launched (March 2004)

    In March 2004 an exciting new website was launched called "Grow Sustainably™". The Grow Sustainably™ site outlines a program crafted to help people involved in the agribusiness supply chain to generate more sustainable environmental outcomes.

    The Grow Sustainably™ program consists of:

    • a client website, training modules,
    • a diary and
    • a folder information filing system.

    Grow Sustainably™ is designed to meet the needs of a variety of mixed farming activities and satisfies the requirements of several regulatory standards in one simple management tool.

    Grow Sustainably™ was designed after research into suitable indicators to monitor the environmental sustainability of farm management practices, the development of environmental footprints for rural industries and on-farm risk assessment.

    The program empowers clients to develop a continuous improvement process for their agribusiness supply chains with an emphasis on changing their management systems to improve environmental sustainability.

    Click this link to visit the Grow Sustainably™ website: www.growsustainably.com


    OECD Expert Meeting On Farm Management Indicators And The Environment, Palmerston North, New Zealand (8-12 March 2004)

    By invitation OE attended the Expert meeting sponsored by the Joint Working Party (JWP) on Agriculture and the Environment in New Zealand as part of an international forum to:

    • Review the current set of OECD farm management indicators
    • Examine impediments, incentives and research needs
    • Report recommendations to the JWP (7-9 June)
    • Provide input into the next OECD report
    • Communicate the results of the meeting internationally

    Some of the key questions addressed by delegates about Farm Management Indicators (FMI's) included:

    • Can FMI's be more precise and draw on international standards/guidelines, e.g., ISO 14000, IFOAM; including OECD Guidelines for Multi-national Enterprises?
    • Is it possible to establish benchmarks of "good practice" or should FM practices be defined in terms of a range from "best" to "worst"?
    • How can FMI's be better linked to environmental outcomes?
    • Can the environmental costs and benefits of different FMI's be valued now or in the future?
    • Should OECD develop an FMI implementation index to recognise cross country variation?
    • Can FMI's be expressed to reveal the spatial variation around the national average trend or should they only be developed at the farm to watershed (regional) level?
    • How can national farm account/income data sets be better integrated with farm management surveys to provide value-added for policy analysis (e.g. adoption of environmental practices in terms of farm capital structure)?
    • In the interpretation of FMI's, how is it possible to take into account problems of trade-offs e.g. improvements in nitrogen management can lead to higher GHG emissions, while increasing irrigation in summer can limit nitrogen leaching?

    The meeting was presented with a diverse array of technical papers contributed by delegates which provided valuable insight and which were organised around the themes:-

    • Overview of Linkages between farm management practices and the environment
    • Overview of Farm Environmental Management indicators
    • Environmental Indicators related to Farming Systems and Farm Business
    • Farm Practice Indicators: Nutrients
    • Farm Practice Indicators: Soil & Land
    • Farm Practice Indicators: Water & Pests
    • Farm Practice Indicators: Biodiversity
    • Using Farm Environmental Management Indicators for Policy Purpose
    • Farm Environmental Management: Impediments and Incentives

    The meeting concluded with the presentation of discussion by the Rapporteurs and a series of workshop recommendations for future work.


    Contract with one of Australia's largest wine companies to develop a sustainable footprint program (December 2003)

    In December 2003 Outsourced Environmental won an exciting contract to develop the "Fosters Footprint for Sustainable Development", a program to help evaluate the wine grape production business for Beringer Blass Wine Estates.

    The Fosters Footprint for Sustainable Development includes developing a strategy to implement an environmental monitoring program for the Beringer Blass vineyards. Phase 1 of the program began on December 2003 and will conclude in June 2004. Phase 2 is anticipated to start in July 2004, and run for a period of 2 to 3 years. More on this story in News Events ahead.


    OE requested to facilitate sustainable agricultural programs in Brazil and Greece for Unilever (December 2003)

    For the past 4½ years OE has been working with Unilever Australasia on a Sustainable Agriculture Program, researching the development of sustainability indicators and a Good Agricultural Practices program.

    Since January 2000 Outsourced Environmental has worked with the Unilever Australasia and the global Unilever Sustainable Agriculture teams to facilitate the first pilot program in Australia on sustainable agriculture - the focus has been on processing tomatoes in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales. This work has led to the development of a program called Grow Sustainably™, and details about this program can be found at www.growsustainably.com.

    This Sustainable Agriculture Program has now been expanded for other countries within the Unilever global business network. In September 2002 demand for Outsourced Environmental services became international when they undertook a risk assessment and review of sustainability issues for Unilever farms in California, in the Sacramento Valley, where Unilever have two factories - at Stockton and Merced, and also for Unilever Brazil in the region of Goiania.

    Both California and Brazil each supply over 800,000 metric tonnes of processing tomatoes as raw ingredients for the Unilever factories to process into tomato paste, tomato sauce and pasta products. In December 2003 Outsourced Environmental finalised plans with Unilever to facilitate the mentoring of company staff and to develop pilot programs in Brazil and Greece, in conjunction with the project work already underway in Australia.

    As a consequence of OE input, Unilever will be equipped with a framework to consistently assess the environmental sustainability of their field operations and their supply chain (including farm) activities. A common set of minimum agricultural standards are being established to guide farmers that supply tomatoes to Unilever's food business and to set thresholds for food assurance and environmental sustainability.


    Bega Cheese EMS (December 2003)

    Outsourced Environmental has been awarded the opportunity to partner with Bega Cheese and 20 pilot farmers, to develop an environment management system (EMS) for their dairy industry. This project is one of the EMS projects funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. More on this project in the months ahead.


    OE speaks at the Environment Management Systems and Agriculture Conference (November 2003)

    Two papers were presented at the Environment Management Systems and Agriculture Conference at Tanunda in the Barossa Valley. The first paper was presented by co-authors Greg Dalton and Jamie McMaster and reviewed the biodiversity strategy for the Grow Sustainably™ program; this was developed by Outsourced Environmental as part of the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Program for processing tomatoes.

    Garry West and Jamie McMaster also presented a joint paper on the Unilever corporate contribution to sustainable agriculture. For more information click on the links.


    OE speaks at the World Tomato Congress and International Symposium for Processing Tomatoes (June 2002)

    Outsourced Environmental presents two papers at the World Tomato Congress and International Symposium of Processing Tomatoes, held in Istanbul. For more information about these papers click on the links.




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