Sun World Publishes First Corporate Social Responsibility Report
BAKERSFIELD, CA - “Empowering our People, Protecting our Environment, and Innovating for Sustainability.” With these three core areas in focus, Sun World International is looking to achieve new corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals by the year 2022. Outlined in its first-ever corporate social responsibility report released February 20, 2018, Sun World’s new goals were designed with taking its The Better Future Project CSR program to new heights.
“With the publishing of our first corporate social responsibility report, we bring forward an element of transparency in our efforts to work towards a sustainable future,” said company CEO Merrill Dibble. “The report, which will be released annually, holds us more accountable by publicly tracking the progress to our goals, and gives our stakeholders the opportunity to understand our vision for a better future.”
Empowering our People
In regards to Sun World’s mission of empowering its people, the company announced in its report that it has a goal of training at least 2,500 farmworkers on skills that support career development and personal well-being, including ESL classes, adult education opportunities, financial asset-building courses, and interpersonal communication training. In addition, Sun World also launched a new Safety Program, which will actively incentivize safe behavior in the workplace. According to a press release, the company has exceeded its goal and achieved workplace illness and injury ratings well below the industry average year after year.
Protecting our Environment
For its environmental initiatives, Sun World shared its focus will remain on renewable energy and water conservation, as well as soil and bee health. Investing in renewable energy, the company has set aside land for solar power installations that will take place in 2018, with the goal of having 10 percent of its power generated by on-site energy sources. In the area of water conservation, efforts include the development of over 500 acres of groundwater retention ponds, from which the company will source 75 percent of its water during dry years.
Innovating for Sustainability
Sun World is taking an active stance in its mission to support soil and bee health, planting cover crop and hedgerows on at least 50 percent of its acreage. The company has plans to continue leveraging Sun World’s commitment to innovation as it develops practices towards increasing its sustainability, incorporating data-driven sustainability benchmarks, measurement, and reporting. Future goals include working towards the development of high-yielding, proprietary grapes that can be grown with lower inputs and water use, as well as developing a tool to track greenhouse gas impact and water usage.
Benchmarking for The Better Future Project was conducted in 2016, with the program officially launching on Earth Day 2017, and is led by a cross-functional committee of Sun World employees, farmworkers, scientists, engineers, non-profit organizations, and municipalities.
“The Better Future Project is beginning to shape and mold our culture here at Sun World,” Dibble concluded. “We are encouraged by our progress so far and look forward to delivering on our set goals.”