Our Sustainability Statement

"Sustainable or ecological development is a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are made consistent with the future as well as present needs".

Sustainability requires continuous technological, economic the social progress of continuous improvement that respects the limits of the Earth's ecosystems, and meets the needs and aspirations of everyone for a better quality of life, now and for future generations to come.

Irvin

"Meeting our stakeholder's present and future requirements through a co-operative network culture which provides the capability to produce products, services and knowledge allowing systematic change to take place whilst reinforcing mutually desired social, economic and environmental outcomes".

Sustainability's General Principles

A business must be demonstrating that it is prepared to make hard decisions with values that will possibly compromise sustainability however the level of sacrifice cannot endanger the survival of the business in the short term. These values must be decided upon to be mutually reinforcing amongst the principles as well as appropriate to the business's extended stakeholder community. In short this requires long-term thinking short-term.

Intergenerational equity is addressed by increasing the public knowledge associated with the organisation and its dedication to environmental sustainability and how that criterion is translated into areas such as designs, equipment, service operations, social responsibility and overall understanding of the importance of a sustainable environment to future generations.

The precautionary principle is addressed by product and knowledge design criteria being driven by the triple bottom line as well as going beyond the legislation and governance aspects of environmental compliance to a level of both business and environmental gains. Irvin Farm has the ability to surpass current best practice in its operations and needs to actively operate at this level rather than wait for legislation to mandate compliance.

The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity would involve aligning activities with uitilising nature's capital abilities presently overlooked due to limited understanding of how the environmental capital is being threatened or degraded by overuse. In short to remove the waste from activities through innovation, technology and social understandings aligned with nature's requirements and legislation.

Improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms is addressed in many ways such as price reductions for improved qualifications, reductionist policies in supply lines leading to recycling or upcycling of older equipment. These areas will be increasingly influenced by changing business policies and modifications for sustainable development

Our Adopted General Principles for Agriculture

John M Gerber comments in 1990 that the lack of a commonly agreed upon definition for sustainable agriculture is believed by some to be an impediment to meaningful dialogue. He suggests that sustainable agriculture should not be understood as a specific agricultural practice, technology or system. Rather, agricultural sustainability is a societal goal to be pursued forever and for everyone and guided by general principles.

Principle

Sustainable View

1. A sustainable agricultural system is based on the prudent use of renewable and/or recyclable resources.

A system which depends on exhaustible (finite) resources such as fossil fuels cannot be sustained indefinitely. A sustainable system would use renewable energy sources such as biological, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, or wind. Use of recyclable resources such as groundwater at rates greater than recharge depletes reserves and cannot be sustained.

2. A sustainable agricultural system protects the integrity of natural systems so that natural resources are continually regenerated.

Our current thinking focuses on reducing the rate of degradation of natural and agricultural ecosystems. A system will not be sustainable as long as the goal is simply to decrease the rate of its degradation. Sustainable agricultural systems should maintain or improve groundwater and surface water quality and regenerate healthy agricultural soils.

3. A sustainable agricultural system improves the quality of life of individuals and communities.

In order to stem the rural to urban migration, rural communities must offer people a good standard of living including diverse employment opportunities, health care, education, social services and cultural activities. Young people must be afforded opportunities to develop rural enterprises, including farming, in ways which care for the land so that it may be passed onto future generations in as good or in better condition than it was received.

4. A sustainable agricultural system is profitable.

Transition to new ways of knowing, doing and being require incentives for all participants. Some of these incentives are necessarily economic. Systems and practices that do not include profitability as one of the prime motivators will not be voluntarily implemented.

5. A sustainable agricultural system is guided by a land ethic that considers the long-term good of all members of the land community.

Holistic or whole-system analysis views an agroecosystem as a dynamic community of soil, water, air and biotic species. All parts are important because they contribute to the whole however the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This ethic strives to protect the health of the land community that is its capacity for self-renewal.

Sustainability

"Sustainability" and in turn "sustainable development" are terms that mean different things to different people, making it difficult to provide a single definition. The original definition (and the one still most widely used) of sustainable development was made in the Bruntland Report (Our Common Future, World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987) which defined it as:

"Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Sustainable development is all about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. This can be achieved through the three strands of social equity which recognises the needs of everyone, maintenance of stable levels of economic growth and employment, and using natural resources prudently, whilst protecting, and if possible enhancing, the environment.

Sustainability
The three strands of sustainability

An even balance between the circles is needed for sustainability. For example, outstanding economic performance at the cost of the community is not sustainable; neither is protecting the environment beyond reasonable means and consequently stunting any economic activities.

Sustainability also does not demand the 'perfect' solution. Sustainable development is essentially a goal or vision that forward looking organisations are working towards. A sustainable approach is a balanced approach.

Sustainability
Single pass combination ripping and mounding

Economically, the sugar cane growing sector of the Australian Sugar Industry is a major contributor to Australia's agricultural economy. However the Industry is a significant user of fossil fuels, artificial fertilisers, agricultural chemicals and machinery. The industry provides significant employment on family and corporate farms as well as small business and numerous supply activities. We aim to provide a range of sustainable tooling and knowledge influencing a triple bottom line of our sugar cane farming communities. We are about providing solutions which drill through cost barriers, do more with less, reduce waste and provide profitable solutions.

Socially, the performance of the industry determines the quality not just of the farming sector, but of the whole of the built environment including access to services and recreation. Sugar cane farming activities are a major social influence in the coastal belt of Queensland and northern New South Wales and should promote healthy living and socially cohesive communities. It faces the challenge of responding to Australia’s changing demographics as well as its own, with people living longer and needing to remain active in a wider and more fluid variety of social relationships, demanding a correspondingly diverse and adaptable built environment. Society’s expectations are changing, specifically in relation to lifestyles and to workplace practices, and the Australian Sugar Industry has to take account of these changes.

Sustainability
Planting 3 meter dual single row

Environmentally, the construction, use, maintenance and renewal of the farming community’s infrastructure consume energy and material resources and generate waste on a massive scale. This represents a major contribution to climate change, resource depletion and pollution at a global level. Having a dedication to a sustainable environment means a dedication to continuous improvement along with the view that we must begin to live within our environmental means reducing waste by redesigning our systems, relationships, finding new values and learning.

Thinking holistically and strategically is necessary in a global environment to ensure the effect of our focused efforts are likened to butterflies wings vibrating however when their effect is magnified throughout the globe it adds to sustainable wellbeing.

Irvin
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