Agrifirm is an agricultural cooperative, based in the Netherlands, with an international presence through its subsidiaries across 19 countries in Europe, South America and Asia. Founded in 1892, the cooperative currently consists of over 10,000 Dutch farmers and growers and specialises in four key areas: compound feed, arable farming and horticulture, co-products and specialties. Through its subsidiary Nuscience, the company produces premixes, concentrates, nutritional concepts and functional feed ingredients primarily for the cattle, pig and poultry sectors. In addition, the company is involved in the production of fertilizers and trading of various crops such as grains, onions and soybeans.
Agrifirm is active in the agricultural products and commodities segment. The company is among the weakest performers in the segment, predominately because of an overall lack of disclosure in the nutrition and social inclusion measurement areas. Within its segment, Agrifirm performs above average in the governance and strategy measurement area due to its disclosure on its sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement. In the environment measurement area, the company demonstrates an average performance on scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions compared to its peers, but it lags behind in terms of reporting on key topics such as water use and responsible sourcing of high-risk commodities.
Sustainable development strategy
The company reports progress against the four operational pillars associated with its Better Together Strategy and discloses for each of them the related activities, material topics, and the objectives to achieve by 2021 and by 2025. Furthermore, Agrifirm discloses its updated materiality. However, the company can improve its performance by setting targets covering all the topics both for its operations and suppliers.
Governance and accountability for sustainable development
The company assigns responsibility for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) to staff members of the executive board, and most regions have their own CSR coordinators. Agrifirm has room to improve by disclosing the highest governance body’s remuneration policy regarding sustainability.
Agrifirm discloses the outcomes of its stakeholder engagement and its integration into its sustainability strategy. However, the company fails to disclose its process for identifying and engaging with stakeholders and has an opportunity to improve its performance by disclosing sustainability topics that cover all three benchmark measurement areas (environment, nutrition and social inclusion) across its value chain.
Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions
Agrifirm reports on CO2 direct and indirect emissions by production sites and compared to 2019, they decreased by 49.7%. The company can improve by disclosing a target on scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Protection of terrestrial natural ecosystems
Agrifirm has a sustainable procurement policy and a separate policy pertaining to raw materials that entail a high risk of deforestation (such as palm oil and soy) that will be rolled out throughout the entire organization. In addition, the company reports that it has procured all of its soy in accordance with the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines through means of purchase of RTRS and SFAP non-conversion certificates in 2020. However, Agrifirm can strengthen its performance by disclosing the proportion of its portfolio using deforestation and conversion-free sourcing practices.
The company does not disclose that it is reducing water withdrawals across its operations and supply chain.
Soil health and agrobiodiversity, and fertiliser and pesticide use
Agrifirm discloses qualitative evidence on improving soil quality by increasing the use of arable farming cultivation solutions and by developing an online soil scan. Furthermore, the company has the Biological Mixed Green Fertilisers programme which reduces chemical input, thus demonstrating qualitative evidence on reducing the use of fertilizer. Agrifirm has an opportunity to strengthen its commitment to these topics by setting targets, reporting progress, and disclosing quantifiable data.
While the company discloses compliance with national regulations and/or the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene, it has an opportunity to strengthen its commitment by disclosing the percentages of its own operations that are certified to a food safety certification programme recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative or other widely recognised (industry-specific) certification.
Availability of healthy foods
The company does not disclose a commitment or activities to increase the availability of healthy and nutritious foods.
Accessibility and affordability of healthy foods
The company does not disclose a commitment to address food insecurity by improving the accessibility and affordability of healthy and nutritious foods.
Child and forced labour
The company does not disclose a commitment to prohibit child and forced labour in its supply chain.
The company does not disclose that it pays its workers a living wage or requires its suppliers to do the same. Neither has it set targets to do so in the future.
Health and safety of vulnerable groups
The company does not disclose that it specifically recognises the health and safety risks to vulnerable groups, such as migrant and temporary labourers, women and young farmers
Core social indicators
The core social indicators are part of the social inclusion measurement area. These indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Agrifirm has no sufficient policies or commitments related to respect for human rights and does not disclose a human rights due diligence process. Although the company provides a channel for employees to make reports, it is unclear whether the channel is anonymous or not and if it is accessible to all external individuals and communities who may be adversely impacted by its activities.
The company lacks policy commitments and transparency on decent work standards in its own operations and within its supply chain. Its generic risk assessment does not describe how it works to support the payment of a living wage by its supply chain partners as well as the practices of supply chain partners in relation to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
The company has a public commitment to protecting personal data but lacks available privacy statements in relation to the collection, sharing and access to personal data. Although the company has a publicly available policy statement prohibiting bribery and corruption, it could improve by taking steps to identify and address bribery and corruption risks and incidents. In addition, no relevant policies or commitments on key ethical business topics as tax, and lobbying and political engagement – were found in the public domain.