Fountainhill Estate Perspective Report: A Holistic Evaluation of Sustainability Performance Using SHERPA Management System

Blue North Sustainability has recently conducted a detailed sustainability evaluation of Fountainhill Hill Estate (FHE), a model agro-ecological farm that blends commercial agriculture, conservation, and social impact. Of its 2 243 hectares, FHE utilises 780 ha for commercial agriculture, while the balance is reserved for the conservation of the ecological health and biodiversity of the Umgeni catchment. All revenues from commercial operations are reinvested back into a trust fund for onward investment into its broader purpose.

FHE commissioned Blue North Sustainability to undertake an independent sustainability evaluation of its operations, which was done through a diagnostic assessment using Blue North’s SHERPA sustainability management system ( The assessment employs a holistic and integrated framework of sustainability outcome statements, describing the “ideal future state” across the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of a sustainable farming enterprise. It allows the “current state” to be accurately discerned and identifies areas of relative strength and weakness in relation to the “ideal.”

The SHERPA assessment was followed by a series of in-person interviews and an in-field examination of the FHE activities and property by Blue North Sustainability consultants, with the purpose of “ground truthing” the assessment findings. The findings are presented in a “perspective report” and are a credible and honest account of FHE’s substantial portfolio of sustainable agriculture, environmental, and community engagement activities.

The report, presented in four chapters, explores FHE’s history and ethos, natural resource management, energy and material management, and social impact. Each chapter highlights areas of excellence and concludes with a section that suggests areas for attention and ongoing improvement to strengthen FHE’s overall resilience and sustainability “performance” into the future.

FHE’s sustainability approach is examined objectively and independently in this report, which is a testament to the farm’s dedication to sustainability, conservation, and social impact. Blue North Sustainability commends FHE’s efforts in promoting sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation, and community engagement, and hopes that other farms will be inspired by FHE’s example.

You can access the latest issue of the FHE Bush Telegraph, Vol.12, April 2023 here, which includes more information about FHE and the Perspective Report. The report has been printed and has been well-received by FHE’s directors, who have been circulating it widely.

The complete FHE Perspective Report can also be accessed here…

FHE printed report