Southern States Cooperative is one of the largest farm supply retail and service cooperatives in the United States. The cooperative serves over 1,200 retail outlets across 21 states, providing a wide range of farm inputs including fertilizer, seed, livestock feed, pet food, animal health supplies, and petroleum products, as well as other items for the farm and home. The cooperative was founded in 1923 as Virginia Seed Service (VSS) when Virginia farmers were unable to buy seed guaranteed to grow in the Commonwealth. About 150 farmers started the company with just $11,000 in capital, two employees and a second-hand typewriter. Today, Southern States has grown to become a multi-billion-dollar agribusiness with over 200,000 farmer-members.
The company ranks at the bottom in the agricultural inputs segment. No relevant disclosure was found for the company for any of the measurement areas, including governance and strategy, environment, nutrition and social inclusion.
Sustainable development strategy
The company does not disclose a sustainable development strategy that includes sustainable development objectives and targets, nor an identification and prioritisation process to determine the topics where it has the most impact.
Governance and accountability for sustainable development
The company does not disclose the governance structure for the implementation of its sustainable development strategy or targets, such as the person, team or committee that holds ultimate responsibility for its implementation.
The company does not disclose stakeholder engagement activities, including how it selects the stakeholders, nor an overview of the topics discussed or their outcomes.
Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions
The company does not disclose quantitative evidence to demonstrate that it is reducing its scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions.
Protection of terrestrial natural ecosystems
The company does not disclose activities aimed at achieving deforestation and conversion-free (DCF) supply chains for its relevant high-risk commodities. It has an opportunity to increase its disclosure on commitments to source its high-risk commodities through recognised certification programmes.
Soil health and agrobiodiversity
The company does not disclose that it is adopting sustainable production practices that improve soil health and increase agrobiodiversity.
The company does not disclose that it is reducing water withdrawals across its operations and supply chain.
Availability, accessibility and affordability of healthy foods
The company does not disclose a commitment to address food insecurity by improving the availability, accessibility, and affordability of healthy and nutritious foods.
The company does not disclose a workforce nutrition programme that prioritises making healthy foods the standard in the workplace.
The company does not disclose evidence of ensuring safe food for consumers through compliance with national regulations and/or the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene, nor an effective food safety certification scheme.
Child and forced labour
The company does not disclose a commitment to prohibit child and forced labour labour in its operations and supply chain.
Health and safety for 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.
Farmers 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.
Core social inclusion
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.
No policies or commitments related to respect for human rights were found in the public domain. This includes the necessary policies and systems to respect basic human rights in its operations and supply chain.
No policies or commitments related to providing and promoting decent work were found in the public domain. This includes the provision of secure, safe and healthy workplaces, where workers are fairly remunerated and have a meaningful say in decision making.
Although the company is committed to protecting personal information, it does not disclose a global privacy statement in relation to the collection, sharing and access to personal data. Furthermore, no policies or commitments related to key ethical business topics – tax, bribery and corruption, and lobbying and political engagement – were found in the public domain. This includes ensuring ethical business conduct throughout its operations and in its relationships with business partners.