Nufarm is an agricultural chemical company specialised in the development of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. The company also develops its own seeds, for sunflower, sorghum and canola, as well as seed treatments. Nufarm has been operational for over 100 years and today has manufacturing and marketing operations in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America, in addition to its home market of Australia.
Active in the agricultural inputs segment, Nufarm performs below average compared to its peers. In environment, the company has an average performance on scope 1 and 2 GHG emission reduction but it lags behind its peers in the sector on scope 3 GHG emission reduction and water use reduction. As an agrochemical company, Nufarm could strengthen its commitments on fertilizer and pesticide use optimisation and on maintaining soil health by disclosing targets on the topics. In nutrition, the company ranks at the bottom of the pack. In social inclusion, the company displays average performance compared to its peers. While Nufarm demonstrates to commit to human rights and to have a grievance mechanism in place for its workers, it fails to protect its workers’ labour rights such as forced labour and living wage. Furthermore, the company is among the few weakest performers in the sector on farmers’ resilience.
Sustainable development strategy
The company discloses a materiality assessment and prioritises five sustainability objectives which cover the three dimensions of the Food and Agriculture Benchmark. Nufarm has the opportunity to improve by disclosing time-bound targets for its most relevant sustainability topics and reports against them.
Governance and accountability for sustainable development strategy
The company has a board risk and compliance committee which reviews key safety metrics and health, safety and environment compliance performance. Furthermore, the board and the CEO approve Nufarm’s 2020 Annual Sustainability Review, its 2020 GRI Content and Index, and its Modern Slavery Statement. However, Nufarm can strengthen its performance by disclosing its highest governance body’s remuneration policy regarding sustainability.
The company has updated its materiality study to identify its most relevant sustainability issues, and it provides evidence of stakeholder engagement. However, Nufarm does not provide sufficient evidence of the outcomes of its stakeholder engagement and of the integration of that into its sustainability strategy.
Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions
In 2020, Nufarm reduced its scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2.5 percent compared to the previous year. However, the company can strengthen its performance by disclosing a target to reduce its scope 1 and 2 (GHG) emissions.
Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions
The company does not disclose quantitative evidence to demonstrate that it is reducing its scope 3 GHG emissions.
Soil health and agrobiodiversity, and fertiliser and pesticide use
Nufarm discloses qualitative evidence of improving soil health and reducing fertilizer and pesticides use respectively by means of its cover crop seed Carinata and through its collaboration with insecticide, fungicide and herbicide resistance action committees, and research institutes. However, Nufarm has an opportunity to strengthen its commitment by setting targets to increase the percentage of production from sustainable practices that improve soil health and agrobiodiversity and that optimise use of fertilisers and pesticides, reporting progress against the targets.
While the company discloses its water consumption, it does not demonstrate quantitative reductions in water withdrawals across its own operations.
Child and forced labour
While the company commits to prohibiting child and forced labour in its own operations and requires its suppliers to adhere to the same standard, it has an opportunity to disclose a policy requiring its suppliers to have an age-verification system in place and to disclose a requirement that prohibits them from retaining workers’ personal documents and restricting workers’ freedom of movement.
Farmer and fisherman productivity and resilience
The company does not disclose a commitment or examples of activities to support the resilience, productivity and access to markets for farmers, fishers and/or small-scale producers in its supply chain.
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.
The company commits to respect human rights and the ILO core labour rights and has a publicly available statement of policy that expects its supply chain partners to commit to respecting the ILO core labour rights. The company also has a grievance mechanism for employees and contractors to report unethical behaviour, though it is unknown whether it is accessible for external individuals. While the company mentions its assessments on its suppliers, there is no mention of whether the assessment considers specific factors such as geography or economy.
Nufarm has made commitments to health and safety for its own operations as well as for suppliers and discloses collective bargaining metrics for its own operations. The company has not made commitments towards paying a living wage, nor regarding working hours in its own operations or supply chain.
The company publicly commits to protecting personal data and has a privacy statement on the use of personal data. The company discloses its policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, as well as its process in identifying and assessing related risks, but does not mention a grievance mechanism accessible to all stakeholders for raising corruption concerns. Finally, there remain opportunities for Nufarm to increase disclosure on taxes paid in different jurisdictions.