Taking Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility involves everyone.

Published online: Jul 05, 2018 Articles, Irrigation
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This article appears in the July 2018 issue of Potato Grower.

Smart Irrigation Month reminds us that water is a precious natural resource. Here in the U.S.—and around the world—more frequent and prolonged drought conditions affect the availability of water for many purposes, including agriculture. The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that significant portions of the West and the High Plains are abnormally dry or in severe or extreme drought. The global consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates that by 2030, global water supplies will be able to provide for only 60 percent of water demand, assuming continued economic and population growth. Fortunately, there are many solutions to help conserve and protect our water resources. Businesses from many sectors, including the agricultural industry, are stepping up. 

Companies like MillerCoors and PepsiCo are working with their agricultural growers to switch to improved irrigation technologies and plant management techniques. Technology companies like Intel are learning how to recycle water from their manufacturing processes so they can reduce the amount of potable water they use. Intel recently announced a goal to restore 100 percent of its global water use by 2025. Real estate management and hospitality companies are retrofitting existing buildings with more efficient faucets, toilets and showers.  

Agricultural manufacturers offer irrigation products designed to help save water and energy. From applicators installed close to the ground to help avoid wind drift and evaporation, to those that operate at low pressures of 6 to 15 PSI to help lower energy requirements, growers have many effective choices. The availability of water affects all aspects of business, not just product design. Water is vital to manufacturing processes and necessary for employees’ health and well-being. As stewards of this resource, many of these manufacturers are committed to reducing their water consumption and to benefiting the watersheds where they live, work and play. They recycle water used in manufacturing and product testing while continuing to look for additional water-saving opportunities. Some focus on taking this message to the next generation by hosting educational events for local schoolchildren to help them better understand the water cycle and how aquifers work.  

Water conservation efforts are only one part of overall corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. CSR is a global trend among publicly traded, Fortune 500 companies to address social and environmental challenges to respond to investor concerns and to manage risk. Additionally, privately held businesses also value social responsibility and sustainability. To simplify, companies employing CSR strive to achieve a balance between the people, the planet and the profits—the “3P” approach:

  • People: Investing to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the people with whom they interact is vital to creating a responsibly balanced business.
  • Planet: Decreasing their footprint on the environment while managing the efficient use of resources sets them on the right path toward achieving sustainability.
  • Profit: Being a profitable company allows them to invest in the success of their industry partners and helps ensure a balance with people and planet.

Companies working to be responsible stewards set goals to improve performance on environmental, social and economic metrics and to report their efforts publicly. In addition to water consumption, they measure things like energy use, waste disposal and social metrics such as employee health and safety, benefits and charitable giving to communities. These companies continually seek to identify new key performance indicators and setting new goals in the 3P areas. 

Senninger Irrigation, a Hunter Industries company, is one such company. Senninger has discovered over the course of its sustainability journey that one cannot achieve CSR goals alone. Senninger feels it is important to reach out to all stakeholders—customers, employees and others who may be affected or affect its business—and encourage them to consider ways to focus on corporate social responsibility. Senninger also believes that those in its sector—from growers, specifiers and distributors to manufacturers, suppliers and community groups—can all work together because sustainably feeding a growing population is the industry’s calling. It is a daunting task to be responsible stewards and ensure that our communities, our economy and our environment thrive well into the future. 

 

Learn more about Senninger’s commitment to CSR at www.senninger.com