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Becker Underwood Publishes First Sustainability Report

Agricultural R&D company Becker Underwood released its first-ever sustainability report highlighting its ambition to achieve a net-positive impact on the environment.

The company’s recent achievements include completing the first phase of a companywide environmental profit and loss (EP&L) account with the assistance of Trucost.

Trucost also assisted sport and lifestyle brand Puma in completing its ground-breaking EP&L. Traditional accounting practices do not recognize the lost value of natural systems destroyed by industry. However, EP&L accounting attempts to tabulate the inherent value of ecosystems — a difficult task, but one that could leverage the power of markets to help protect the environment.

The first phase of Becker Underwood’s assessment analyzed the carbon emissions and water footprint of its global operations and supply chain. The total carbon cost ($35.82 per ton) amounted to $1.83 million.

The results include an analysis of the carbon footprint for 127 suppliers in key areas such as manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and extractive industries. Just 10 of Becker’s high-impact suppliers were found to be responsible for around 55 percent of the supply chain carbon footprint. From the total GHG emissions analyzed, only 13 percent were directly associated with Becker Underwood’s operations.

Similarly, only one percent of the company’s water footprint was attributed to Becker Underwood’s direct operations, with the remaining amount attributed to supply chain. Becker Underwood did not release specific figures regarding its water use, but said goals for 2013-14 include completing phase two of the EP&L account with Trucost and analyzing the water risk to manufacturing facilities in various regions of the world.

The sustainability report also highlights the installation of 84 solar panels at Becker Underwood’s St. Joseph, Mo. facility, and the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) funding wind farm development to offset 100 percent of Becker Underwood’s electricity use.

Becker Underwood’s approach to sustainability revolves around the company’s NET positive strategy, which is built on the philosophy that all businesses have positive and negative impacts on the environment and society through their policies, processes and products.

“We are proud of our performance,” said Daniel Krohn, sustainability lead at Becker Underwood, “but recognize our sustainability story never ends. This is just the beginning to becoming a NET positive company and one way of fulfilling our commitment to accountability for our actions through transparency in everything we do.”

The sustainability report – available here – is compiled in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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