By Jen Scoular
NZ Avocado is hosting a number of workshops across our avocado growing regions to ask our growers, what does sustainability mean for you and to you?
In a recent grower survey, we heard that most growers are aware of environmental sustainability and were proactively achieving in this area, but wanted to do more. In the area of economic sustainability, they wanted to excel, but there were challenges to this, and in the area of social sustainability they were unclear about what that really means.
So our first workshop in Katikati clarified the three areas, in particular noting that social sustainability was ensuring workers were properly looked after, from fair job pay and conditions, to respect for diversity; that the avocado industry supported the community it was working in, and that the industry supported diversity of people, ideas and cultures.
The workshop in Katikati was an excellent exchange of ideas. Over 50 growers shared their thoughts around their tables, then we asked them to present back to the whole group. There was certainly a diversity in ideas, and some challenges put forward as to how we improve how we look after our land, people and communities.
I was fortunate to attend the Zespri Momentum conference a week or so ago, and heard some excellent national and international speakers highlight the need for action on sustainability. One of the take homes for me was that every step we each take does make a difference. If it is better and more efficient re-use of things at home, or more thinking before throwing waste into landfill, whether it is re-using containers for water or food, or it’s looking at your whole supply chain as Zespri will do, and implement solutions to reduce the impact it has on the world.
I do strongly support the idea that New Zealand horticulture should not only be best in the world, we should be best for the world.