Sustainability Performance Assessment (SPA) tool development for J. Sainsbury’s
Blue North have been contracted by the UK retailer, J. Sainsbury’s, to develop SPA tools for key commodities across their global supply base. The tools are based on a Principles, Outcomes and Indicators hierarchical structure, and are designed with the farmer in mind, to drive a bottom-up approach to ‘strong’ sustainability.
These tools are being developed for a wide range of commodities, from prawn aquaculture, coffee, tea and timber, to dairy, eggs and broiler chickens – for a total of 35 global commodities. Blue North will also be piloting the implementation of these tools in the relevant grower regions. To date, pilot projects have been carried out with prawn aquaculture in Thailand, and tea in Kenya and Malawi, with more commodity pilots in the pipeline.
Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB)
Blue North have been appointed by RSB to support the implementation of the RSB standard in Africa. Blue North is currently mapping planned and exiting biofuel projects in Africa as well as supporting a South African Castor oil start-up.
Water Risk Management - Stems Fruit
Blue North completed a water footprint study for 6 farms within the Stems Fruit supply base in 2016, with calculations based on the Water Footprint Assessment Manual, developed by Hoekstra et al. (2011).
Since this project, Blue North’s offering has evolved into a series of Water Risk Management solutions. These entail water risk profiling using WWF’s Water Risk Filter; Site-Specific Assessment (Water Footprint Calculations for representative blocks, and an assessment of water management systems); and the development of a detailed and comprehensive Water Risk Management Plan.
The Water Risk Management Plan is designed to be of long-term strategic value to the business, but also to meet emerging compliance standard requirements (e.g. Global GAP Version 5). Data to conduct each of these steps is collected through a carefully designed data collection tool.
Blue North formally engaged with Stems Fruit (Pty) Ltd on the basis of this offering in May 2017, in which 6 farms have been included: Excelsior; Koornlandsdrift; Roodehoogte; Stanislaus; Verdun; and Welgevonden. The project will be completed by September 2017.
Measures & Indicators: Stems Fruit
Blue North have been engaged in a Measures and Indicators (M&I) project with Stems Fruit since 2012. Data is collected annually against a series of environmental, social and economic indicators – used to track performance and identify opportunities and hotspots within the Stems Fruit grower base. Five farms have been included in the project: Morelig; Roodehoogte; Edenville; Verdun and Excelsior.
With four years of data collection under the belt, this project is extremely valuable for Stems Fruit, enabling a multi-year assessment of sustainability performance.
Project Impact Evaluation: TechnoServe Irish Aid
Smallholder farmers in South Africa face a myriad of significant challenges, from tenuous land rights and insufficient access to finance and commercial markets, to limited institutional support, poor mechanisation, and poor quality control. TechnoServe, with funding from Irish Aid, have been engaged in a three-year project (June 2014 to June 2017) to improve the commercialisation of vegetable farmers in Kwazulu-Natal; Limpopo; and Mpumalanga.
Blue North have been contracted by TechnoServe to conduct an end-of-project impact evaluation, using a series quantitative and qualitative data collection and data analysis techniques.
TechnoServe has a private enterprise approach to improving the commercialisation of smallholder farmers. At the core of the TechnoServe model is the provision of a zero-interest recoverable grant facility, used by smallholder farmers to finance expensive inputs. This is complemented with technical and business guidance, in addition to the facilitation of market linkages.
Project Impact Evaluation: Primate World Relief Development Fund (PWRDF)
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the relief and development agency of the Anglican Church of Canada, implemented the HIV/AIDS and TB Prevention and Care Project in Ngqushwa district, Eastern Cape, South Africa in partnership with Keiskamma Trust.
The project was developed to address the poor health of vulnerable and remote communities in the project area with the overall objective of improving the health of people affected by AIDS, particularly children; to lower rates of HIV and tuberculosis (TB) infection, as well as increase community awareness of HIV/AIDS and TB testing services, prevention, and treatment.
The project was funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and PWRDF between June 2012 and May 2017. Blue North Sustainability were assigned to undertake an end of project evaluation for PWRDF. The evaluation was concluded in May 2017.
Confronting Climate Change (CCC)
The Confronting Climate Change (CCC) Initiative is a carbon footprinting project, developed to support the South African fruit and wine sectors through identifying and responding to the risks and opportunities associated with carbon emissions.
The CCC initiative is managed on behalf of the South African Fruit and Wine Industry Bodies by Blue North Sustainability (Pty) Ltd. The CCC Initiative includes an online carbon-footprinting platform (updated regularly); a series of regular industry engagement workshops; a range of commodity-specific industry benchmark reports; and up-to-date and relevant energy and emissions-related news and information.
EcoInvent Fruit Carbon Footprint
Blue North is partnering with the Ecoinvent, University of Cape Town (UCT), The Greenhouse and the University of Zurich to calculate the carbon footprint of South African grown Oranges, Apples and Pears. Confronting Climate Change (CCC) data and input from industry experts was used to prepare the carbon footprint datasets.
Winter Grain Trust
Blue North is partnering with Grain SA to calculate the carbon footprint of different grain farming regimes in South Africa’s winter grain growing regions. The data collected by Grain SA is currently being modelled to determine the carbon footprint intensity.
The project has been funded by the Winter Grain Trust, and managed by Grain SA. Blue North is the project’s Life Cycle Assessment partner.
Environmental component of the SIZA standard
Blue North recently concluded a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) project to support the development of the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) Environmental Standard. Blue North developed an Excel tool growers can use to assess themselves against the new SIZA Environmental Standard. The tool also provides growers with reporting and improvement planning functionality. The next step is for SIZA to build the new Environmental standard into their online platform.
Development of an integrated sustainability management program for The Fruit Farm Group South Africa
Blue North has embarked on a project with The Fruit Farm Group South Africa (TFFG-SA) to develop and implement an integrated sustainability risk management and measurement program. The solution to be implemented on the six TFFG-SA farms builds off Blue North’s “bottom-up” thinking and resources aimed at empowering farm-level sustainability strategies and programs.
TFFG-SA has deciduous and sub-tropical fruit farming interests and is part of the international TFFG which also owns and operates fruit farms in South America and Europe. More info on TFFG can be found here.