Sustainability lies at the heart of our business. It informs our vision of pioneering animal genetic improvement to help nourish the world and infuses the core values that shape our work, every day.
Inspired and guided by our purpose, we take a long-term view that balances pursuit of commercial interests with a commitment to make a positive contribution to the world around us. We care for employees, contribute to our communities, respect the environment and protect animal well-being. We also ensure we are a well-run and profitable business, enabling us to meet commitments to shareholders while continuing to invest in areas of importance to other stakeholders (ranging from health & safety to climate change mitigation).
Environmental sustainability is particularly relevant to our operations and our genetic improvement work. We help farmers produce meat and milk more efficiently and sustainably, increasing the availability of high-quality, affordable animal protein around the world. As a result of bovine and porcine genetic improvement, our customers use far less land, water and other natural resources to produce more milk or meat than they did some decades ago. We are therefore helping to reduce the impact agriculture has on the environment and we will continue to accelerate our genetic improvement programmes as we aim to lead the market in sustainable animal protein production.
In parallel, we will continue to reduce the environmental impact of our own operations, guided by our Climate Change Policy. This policy, which is available on the Company’s website, commits us to a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas (‘GHG’) emissions by 2030 and becoming a net-zero emissions business by 2050. We will use the primary intensity ratio to report emission reductions, and we have a range of practical activities already underway to help us achieve this.
We fulfil our commitment by challenging ourselves and those around us to think differently. From small improvements in working practices to innovations that address stakeholder needs, we constantly develop and explore new ideas for enhancing our contribution and delivering positive, sustainable change.
We translate our bold thinking into policies and practices that underpin our operations around the world. From core principles on protecting animal well-being to guidelines on supporting community causes, we articulate expectations, provide information and deliver training where needed to ingrain responsible business practices across our organisation and the people we work with.
We set and continually monitor progress using key performance indicators. We also ensure employees have multiple routes to raise any concerns (including the independent whistleblowing hotline explained earlier). No material issues were reported during the year.
We have been partnered with Lightfoot in the UK for over a year as our focus on safer and more sustainable driving continues. Lightfoot uses advanced, real-time engine analytics to provide live, in-cab coaching to help drivers improve both efficiency and safety – this year we have seen a drop in the severity of road accidents and now have a greater understanding of driver behaviour through improved data.
FY20 also saw the introduction of a new First Notice of Loss (‘FNOL’) service which sends notifications to fleet management within minutes of an incident with the necessary details needed to provide effective and timely response.
In August, severe flooding affected the region of Maharashtra, including at our Brahma production facility, displacing more than 1.5 million people. The Genus team and its partners worked tirelessly to evacuate people and animals from the facility, and also recovered relief materials (including medicine, dry food, utensils and toiletries) and shared them with the neighbouring village to help with the rescue operation. ABS India helped a number of families to re-build homes swept away in the floods and provided replacement school supplies for 300 students. Genus then set up a relief fund to support the local community, matching 100% of employee donations. Combined contributions to the relief effort from the wider Genus family totalled $52,000.
Animal Welfare and Environment
As part of a long term plan to increase production capacity in North America, ABS has commenced construction of new animal housing facilities at locations in Dekorra and Leeds, Wisconsin. Utilising the latest building techniques the facilities are being built to house, clean, bed, feed and collect bulls in a low stress environment. Following the successful roll out of a 49kW solar array at Dekorra in 2018, further investment has been approved for the construction of new solar panel systems at these sites which, when completed, aim to generate electricity equivalent to 100% of the sites’ current power usage.