1. THE WIDER COMMUNITY
Section 1.1 - Ecosystems
Careful attention is paid to ensure that the company's actions do not damage the global and local environment. Issues such as climate change, bio-diversity and pollution prevention are central to this. The company adopts, as a minimum, internationally recognized standards and ensures that they are implemented universally regardless of any legal enforcement or lack thereof in any jurisdiction and continually seeks to improve its performance.
To minimize environmental degradation and health impacts, the precautionary principle 2 is the overriding principle guiding action, shifting the burden of proof from one of proving environmental harm to one of proving environmental safety.
The presence of unused, unexploited, non-renewable, natural resources within a particular area is recognized as an asset of the community of that area.
The company has responsibility for the environmental impact of its production processes and its products and services throughout the life-cycle of these products and services.
The company affirms the precautionary principle that must be invoked prior to the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The company develops genetically modified organisms only where there are safe and clear health, social and environmental benefits.
The company affirms the principle that patent rights do not supercede farmers' rights to pursue traditional sustainable agriculture or forest use.
The company affirms the right of communities to be involved in any proposals regarding the development of GMO products.
The company affirms that situations of hunger and famine are not used to impose the GMO system of agriculture over traditional methods.
A company-wide environmental code has been adopted and implemented.
An active environmental committee has been established by and reports to the Board of Directors.
The company has in place appropriate management systems to implement its policies.
Environmental assessments are completed by the company in which the unused, unexploited natural resources are stated as assets of the community.
The company provides to the public regular reports on its environmental performance and future plans. These are based on a pattern of environmental auditing and reporting according to, at a minimum, internationally recognized standards and include data for each facility.
The company holds public consultations and seeks collaboration from interested individuals and groups to review both its past performance and its future plans, including the location of new facilities.
Where environmental damage does occur, every effort is made by the company to reduce its impact immediately, to provide technical data to those working on the containment and repair, to restore the damaged ecosystem and to ensure appropriate measures are taken to redress injuries to persons caused by environmental hazards created by the company.
The company has policies, practices and procedures to prevent pollution, reduce resource and energy use in each stage of the product or service life-cycle.
The company has a designated person to provide assurance of compliance with its environmental policies.
The company has established a regular procedure to monitor the environmental impact of the production process on the health and safety of workers.
Prior to development, the company establishes a process for determining the benefits and safety of GMOs through independent stakeholder groups in order to satisfy stakeholder concerns, such as, unknown long-term effects of GMOs on human and animal health, soil ecology and local germplasm.
Prior to the introduction of GMO products, the company initiates and makes public a study that takes into account the impact on land, soil, natural limits on gene flow, indigenous farming techniques and the sustainability of local agriculture and forest management.
The company adopts a policy of consultation with credible and recognized local and national bodies, especially civil society, before exporting GMO products.
The company adopts a policy of transparency so that consumers can make fully informed choices about GMO ingredients in food.
Natural resources, which become an asset to the company, are stated as a debit to the community, which the company addresses in a mutually agreed negotiation with the community.
Environmental assessments are made periodically and include, but are not limited to:
- environmental impact;
- physical infrastructure impact;
- social infrastructure impact;
- cumulative (synergistic) impacts
The company has a policy, which includes performance standards relating to:
- protection of the biosphere;
- sustainable use of natural resources;
- reduction and disposal of wastes;
- reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions;
- the development of renewable and alternative energy sources in place of reliance on fossil fuels;
- energy conservation;
- risk reduction;
- safe products and services;
- environmental restoration;
- informing the workers involved and the public.
The company has adopted and implemented at least one or more of the recognized environmental monitoring programmes.
Environmental performance standards are set and applied on a comparable basis throughout the company's operations.
The company is in full compliance with all international, national, and sub-national environmental regulations and breaches are recorded.
The company discloses for each of its operations the same or better categories and levels of information as are required in their 'home' country.
An annual, standardized, environmental report, including data on the extent to which performance goals have been met, is publicly issued and its contents are verified by an independent authority.
On-going environmental performance evaluation is conducted and the results are periodically audited by an independent auditor. The results of the audit are reported to the stakeholders.
Employee remuneration/compensation packages, especially those of senior executives, are linked to corporate environmental performance.
The company produces useful products which fulfil community needs and which avoid built-in obsolescence. It employs process technology that reduces life-style impacts.
The company commits to the on-going transparent and independent monitoring of environmental, social and health impacts accompanying any production of GMOs.
The company publicly reports on the results of testing for long-term safety of its crops, organisms or products on humans, animals, the environment and local agronomic cultures.
The company develops its GMO policies based on the recommendations of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
The company clearly labels its GMO food products to inform consumers of the genetically engineered ingredients.
2 Precautionary Principle: Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. (Agenda 21, Principle 15)