We aim to constantly reduce our environmental impact and conserve natural resources - as our main business is linked to trading and producing soft commodities, the way we treat the world inevitably affects our future. We follow best-in-class processes to monitor and minimize our impact on the planet, particularly from our assets in Russia and our vessels at sea. We also increase awareness among our employees, especially when onboarding new suppliers or even deciding for business trips.
ANALYZING OUR IMPACT
Our industrial and agricultural business activities in Russia, and our maritime transport activities, have the most significant environmental impact when assessing our scope 1 (direct emissions from company-owned and controlled resources) and scope 2 emissions (indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, from a utility provider). Other activities, such as industrial and warehousing operations in Asia, Africa and Brazil, have a much lower environmental impact. Another contributing factor is our employees' travel to visit clients, suppliers, our global offices and other business requirements, though this decreased significantly during the pandemic and offered opportunities to think about and use alternatives to travel. The environmental impact of our office activities is not significant in comparison to the above.
In addition to the close monitoring of our scope 1 and scope 2 emissions we have implemented years ago, scope 3 emissions monitoring (all indirect emissions – not included in scope 2 – that occur in the value chain, including both upstream and downstream emissions) has become a key work area within our sustainability journey.
MANAGING ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE RISKS
We manage our four sugar beet factories in Russia to limit the environmental impact of production, using techniques shared across the sector. Our teams in Russia deploy a certified environmental management system (ISO 14001 certification), as well as similar quality certifications for industrial processes and occupational safety issues.
We work to mitigate climate-change risk by continually verifying that the seeds we use in crops, sugar beet or cereals, are the most suitable for local conditions. We also support farmers in adapting their production to long-term risks related to climate change - this includes ideas for income diversification and improved agricultural practices, as well as reforestation – which relates primarily to our work in coffee and cocoa. We recognize the impact our supply chain has on our scope 3 carbon footprint, and aim to look further into this and share it with our business partners.
IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AND SITE SAFETY
In Russia, we've adopted a policy for managing the business in an ethical and responsible manner. This includes certifying our environmental management systems, and monitoring and optimizing sustainable agriculture, energy efficiency, renewable energy use, ISO 26000 or standard guidelines from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), water-consumption efficiency, waste optimization, and food safety. At each Russian entity environment officers support management in dealing with environmental issues and compliance with standards.
At sea, in line with 2020 IMO regulations, all our vessels now run on fuel with a lower sulfur content. We have also equipped each vessel with a new fuel-purifying system, able to filter up to 80% more residual fines, bringing further improvement in fuel quality and a reduction in carbon emissions.
By installing mineral-water plants onboard the entire fleet, producing drinking water from sea water, we have cut our fleet’s plastic waste, reducing our carbon footprint each year by over five tons of CO2.
LIMITING OUR SCOPE 1 AND SCOPE 2 CARBON FOOTPRINT
Reducing our energy consumption helps reduce our costs as well as our carbon footprint, so we monitor it consistently in Russia, and consider investments that help us reduce it in our industrial and agricultural units. We apply industry best practices and technologies when modernizing or increasing the capacity of our factories, such as at the Eletski factory which has been designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35%. We use specialized software to continuously optimize and model the energy balance of our factories and have set ambitious targets to reduce scope 1 and scope 2 emissions per ton of sugar produced by 20% in 2025 compared to 2015. High-performance, modern tractors and harvesters enable us to optimize how we manage energy consumption on cultivated land.
Our shipping operations have invested in modern ships that optimize energy consumption, and in maintaining these in optimum condition. Our vessels are designed specifically to reduce fuel consumption. They have modern, efficient engines, and the latest hull shape, which is specifically coated to reduce water resistance.
MANAGING OUR WASTE
In Russia, our sugar production generates or supports valuable by-products such as molasses and fertilizer. Even though we otherwise produce limited volumes of waste, we constantly look for opportunities to recycle, and maximize recovery rates. Other than fully biodegradable organic waste that are released at sea, our maritime waste is managed by specialized disposal companies on shore.
OPTIMIZING WATER CONSUMPTION
Overall, we monitor our water consumption in Russia, and managers focus particularly on reducing the volume of discharged water. We now deploy closed-loop systems in four of our plants to reuse beet-cleaning water and have set a clear 2030 target to reduce water withdrawals by 50% from a 2018 baseline.
We strive to protect biodiversity where we can have a direct impact, and to protect the soil through crop rotation as well as fertilizer and pesticide management, monitoring applications of mineral and organic fertilizers closely. In Russia, we analyze all fields, once every five years to see long term trends in soil composition and assess crop rotation impact.
Our ships are equipped with advanced water-ballast treatment systems, preventing the contamination of local ecosystems by foreign bio-organisms, and we comply with best management practices for any chemicals used on board.
On our dairy farms in Russia we oversee animal welfare in our milk-herd management, basing our analysis on the five fundamental freedoms stated by Compassion in World Farming.