Posts

Tree hog

Louis Loubser’s ‘Tree Hog’

Earlier this month I visited Louis Loubser’s farm just outside of Robertson in the Breede Valley. Louis is the man behind the ‘Tree Hog’ – a simple, but extremely effective invention that can bring about considerable reductions in on-farm water and energy use! Read more

JD Kirsten's recycling collection igloos

JDK’s interesting household recycling initiative!

Arguably the most important step to driving any environmental initiative is to change behaviour. As with recycling, it is simply difficult to increase recycling rates without increasing  the rate at which recyclables are collected at both the household and company levels, requiring a change in behaviour by both you and I. JD Kirsten, realising the potential wider gains from improved rates of recycling, have adopted a novel approach to onboard its farm workers. Read more

Management intensive grazing

What meat should I be eating?

Informed consumers globally would doubtlessly have asked themselves this question at some stage. Meat and dairy production invariably top the list of production systems when discussing environmental hotspots of agriculture. When dealing with sustainability and livestock, a discussion of whether we should eat meat or not, and if we do which type, is inescapable. Read more

Aquaculture environmental impacts

Where – and how – was my fish grown?

Chances are you will need to ask this question more and more. Historically, capture fisheries (fish caught in the wild) have been the most prominent source of traded fish. However, capture fisheries volumes have levelled off in the past decade and aquaculture (the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments) is increasingly looked on to meet the increasing global demand for fish. In fact, aquaculture already produces almost half of all fish for human food – and this share is expected to increase to more than 60% by 2030! Behind this growth, there are some important sustainability issues that need to be considered. Read more

What are a Business’s Social Dependencies and Impacts?

In my last post, which you can access here, I examined the throughput of energy and materials that is at the heart of every business (the dark blue horizontal arrow) and the flows from, and to, the environment that must be sustained if the business is to achieve the strategic objective of sustaining “economically viable throughput indefinitely”. In this post, I will look at social dependencies and impacts, and how they fit into the Sustainability System Map.  Read more

Blue-North-Performance-Assessment-&-Monitoring

Development of Sustainability Self-Assessment Tools

Blue North has been commissioned to develop a range of commodity-specific Sustainability self-assessment tools for the UK retailer  J.Sainsbury’s.

 

The tools, which reflect our experience in supporting farm-level buy-in and engagement in sustainability programs, are designed to serve first and foremost as value-adding management tools for farm owners and managers.

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Sustainable Fruit Initiative – Pilot Programme

WWF-SA is launching a sustainability initiative tailored to the South African fruit sector, and has engaged Blue North Sustainability (Pty) Ltd to assist in its development and implementation. The Sustainable Fruit Initiative (SFI) is focussed on supporting the achievement of environmentally sustainable farming in the fruit industry, and will ultimately become the environmental “pillar” of SIZA (Sustainable Fruit Initiative South Africa, which is socially focused).

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The evolution of sustainability agendas in global agri supply-chains – David Farrell’s trip to the UK

Visiting the UK and meeting with different people across UK agri supply-chains is always accompanied by discussions around the subject of sustainability – certain concepts and assumptions are affirmed, others challenged, and new perspectives and priorities are brought to the fore. At a minimum, the rapidly evolving and shifting nature of this field is confirmed. These visits are obviously extremely valuable to the shaping of our thinking at Blue North, and below I have shared some thoughts and insights from my latest trip:

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Line in the Sand: When will voluntary sustainability strategies form part of business practice?

There is always a line in the sand – that point in time when things change, or a new direction is taken. Much of the work we do at Blue North is related to assisting leading agri-businesses to improve their supply chain efficiencies: making outputs exceed inputs, and reducing waste and environmental impact where possible.

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Sustainable Fruit Supply – where to to focus in developing a sustainability strategy?

These thoughts on the development and implementation of a sustainability strategy in an agricultural supply-chain have been developed in the course of the work Blue North does in the sustainability field.

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