Articles Within Our Area of Expertise: Sustainability
SDG 5: Support Gender Equality in 3 Steps
Women produce a vast majority of the food in developing countries and work an average of 12-13 hours more than her male colleagues each week. Despite this, only 10-20% of farmland in these countries is owned or managed by a woman. Studies have shown that by investing in and empowering women in agriculture, improvements are clearly shown in productivity and rural livelihoods.
Diversity has been an obvious stance at NoroGard for a very long time which has resulted in a great mix of experiences and personalities, allowing for our organization to grow! The NoroGard management team is 50% female and so is our production. A move that’s only brought positive effects. Studies and reports actually show that gender equal businesses hold a higher annual revenue, than all-male corporations do.
This weekend the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference kicks off in Ontario, Canada (27-29thOctober), and in a few weeks the Women in Food and Agriculture conference runs in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (3-4thDecember). The rise of female entrepreneurs is growing within the agricultural sector too and this is the ultimate opportunity to show our support! On Instagram you’ll find hashtags such as #WomenInAgriculture and #FemaleFarmer with thousands of posts and followers across the world and similar groups can easily be found on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter too.
So, how can you support gender equality and female empowerment in three simple steps?
First, show the women you work with on a daily basis some appreciation! Let them know you see and appreciate all the hard work that they put in.
Second, spend a few minutes to find an organization or group within your preferred social media channel that raise awareness for women in agriculture and find a way to support them. Whether it’s through likes and positive feedback, or its more materialistic support. It’s up to you!
Third, take your female colleagues into account! Help them grow, listen to what they have to say and trust them to help the business grow!
SDG 3: Start Digging where you're Standing
In Sweden we have a saying that’s frequently used when discussing the startup of a project or change. Start digging where you’re standing. Before taking on large projects of change, start with yourself, the contacts you have in your network and your own team. Same goes for sustainable development goal number three, ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
Those of you who are already familiar with NoroGard, knows that we’re very passionate about ensuring the health and safety of the operators. By providing a work environment free from dust, chemicals and safety hazards, we take our responsibility as a manufacturer and innovator.
SDG 2: It's time for your expertise to shine
850 million people live in hunger today. Living a life in hunger is far beyond what any of us can comprehend. But when 850 million people worldwide are lacking nutritious food, and thereby have been denied basic human rights, lead actors within the agricultural industry hold a bigger responsibility than ever.
The second goal for sustainable development, as defined by the United Nations, boils down to providing nutritious food for everyone, to double the productivity and revenue for small scale food producers and to achieve sustainable food production. As well as investing in countryside infrastructure, agricultural science, technological innovation and gene banks. Goals so directly linked to what our products are set out to achieve and contribute towards. We have a responsibility towards the accomplishment of these goals.
The global agricultural industry has made some big advancements over the years, and new technology hits the market every year. Advancements that has made huge impact on all of us. Not only in terms of the food that we bring to the table, but also in the sharing of knowledge between agronomists and the general public. It’s thanks to your expertise, that people now care about how fairly each farmer is treated, how our food is being produced and the quality of the food that we eat today. However, it’s more important than ever that we share this knowledge and innovation with those in need, in order to beat the world hunger. The technology we have access to today would help the vulnerable farmers to strengthen their capacity to adapt to climate change. Such as flooding, droughts or extreme weathers. The second goal for sustainable development also aims to end all forms of malnutrition by year 2030. A target that’s especially pointed towards the stunting and wasting of children below the age of five, as well as pregnant or lactating women and the elderly.
Seed coating equipment with accurate dosing rates and quality application will directly add nutrition to the crops, as well as guarantee an increased yield. In crops and in revenue. NoroGard is working closely with seed breeders and seed labs all over the world in order to contribute towards the investments in technology and agricultural science. Imagine what we can do, if we all work together. This is our time to shine. We are agronomists, scientists, salespeople, marketers, engineers and entrepreneurs, with knowledge and experience that could only be found within the agricultural industry.
The UN’s 17 goals for sustainable development covers some of the biggest challenges that we are facing in modern time. They may be difficult to grasp or to find ways to contribute towards. But we are spending our lives improving the industry and the ways of farming. If anyone has the knowledge and passion that is required to end world hunger, it’s us. It’s time to achieve something that we can be genuinely proud of, and if saving the starving children of the world isn’t a factor for motivation. Then I’m not sure what is.
SDG 1: It is time to step up our game
It is time we own up to the responsibility that we carry as actors within the agricultural industry. We need to gain and share knowledge. We need to look at ways in which we can contribute to the counteraction of poverty. We need to become supporters of the world’s charity organisations and we need to support farmers by purchasing Fairtrade certified produce.
Although the world poverty has decreased since 1990, by nearly 70 percent, there is still a long way to go before anyone should feel satisfied. The United Nations have stated a goal to achieve zero poverty by year 2030, this is the first of 17 goals for sustainable development. Although the definition of poverty stretches way further than simply economic factors. We are discussing multidimensional poverty where people suffer from a lack of freedom, power, influence, health, education and physical safety. This amount is currently including 1,3 billion people worldwide, half of which are below the age of 18 years old. If this isn’t a motivating factor, then I don’t know what is.
What the UN is looking to achieve, is to eradicate poverty in all its dimensions. And whilst we’re at it, also establish social security schemes, provide equal rights to own property, access basic services, access to technology and economic resources. As well as building a resilience against economic, social and environmental disasters.
NoroGard is, for obvious reasons, entirely incapable of achieving this goal single handedly. However, being an organization within the agricultural sector, with our products and business partners being located literally worldwide, supporting this goal is a natural responsibility of ours. And it should be for you too. The key purpose of NoroGard is to put food on people’s tables. By utilizing the advanced and sophisticated technology that we have at our hands and applying it to our seed treatment equipment, we can help increasing the return of crops and build seed that is suitable for precisions planting. By optimizing farming, we counteract poverty. A treated seed is given the best conditions for survival against disease and insect infestation. As well as provided with the ability to receive appropriate nourishment for quick root development, a stronger plant and a higher yield of the harvest. Furthermore, a precision planted seed will not only increase the nourishing of the seed but also reduce the number of seeds needed per acre by 50-80 percent. We don’t stop there though. It is our mission to always work to improve the operator health and safety with our equipment. All our equipment is CE-Certified with a profound risk analysis, low water and electricity consumption.
NoroGard is built on a company culture that is constantly seeking to make best use of our, as well as nature’s resources. The core values that we are carrying today, are the same ones our founder established over 50 years ago. The only thing that has changed, is our knowledge regarding the impact we have with our equipment. The only way of achieving change is to learn more, and then share the new found knowledge with others! If we can help make sure that each and every farmer get the most out of their harvest, we can create economic stability, freedom, power and put food on their table. Building strong farmers is the foundation of obliterating poverty in all its dimensions and will contribute towards improved quality of life for people around the world.
How many of the products on your weekly grocery list, do you feel comfortable knowing it has been produced in a way where farmers are being supported and treated fairly?
Sustainability isn't a sacrifice, It's good for business
Companies embracing sustainability initiatives may discover benefits and opportunities they hadn’t even dreamed about.
The student strikes taking place around the globe to protest government inaction on global warming have put the spotlight on climate change. Inspired by 16-year-old Swedish student and political activist Greta Thunberg, hundreds of thousands of students walk out of class each Friday morning to strike for climate change — and have been for the past six months.
This recent limelight on climate change is also helping increase the prominence of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by all UN member states in 2015, and provides a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet now and in the future.
The UN has identified 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), which address global challenges we face—such as poverty, climate change, the environment, and inequality—and has set an agenda to achieve each goal and target by 2030.
Rather than being sacrifices our businesses must make, the UN’s sustainable development goals are good for business. In fact, companies embracing sustainability initiatives may discover benefits and opportunities they hadn’t even dreamed about. By working toward the 17 SDGs our company isn’t making compromises—we’re putting money in our pockets and we’re finding huge opportunities.
For example, we’re running our business in a better way. We’re realizing resource savings by using less materials, such as steel and electricity, for the compact equipment we produce, which also results in production cost savings. We’re producing less water waste while saving energy and we’re considering the environmental impacts of any changes or innovations to our equipment. We’re more cost-effective and efficient because of our sustainability initiatives.
If the products we are manufacturing are good for the environment, they usually provide safe, healthy working environments for operators or end-users. These environmental and sustainability considerations make us a more attractive company to do business with as well and to work for, which is so important these days.
Sweden’s economy is based on industrial exports and technology, and it can be difficult to attract and retain employees. Additionally, how do we recruit younger generations? For millennials, and future generations, a job must have meaning as these age groups want to feel they are contributing to, and making a difference in, the world around them. You have to show them they can make a difference by working for your operation.
By committing to the SDGs, you’re putting your company in a good position for recruitment and retention. For example, we’re making compact equipment that requires the smallest resource inputs possible and uses minimal resources and materials to produce end-users’ products (treated seed). Our equipment increases farmers’ yields and we are helping put food on the table. This is a great start in attracting people to our company. The next generation is very aware of what they are eating and how it was produced, and they will demand sustainably-produced products.
We can show them this industry is interesting, exciting and good for the environment. Corporate sustainability will attract young people to our companies. This is just one benefit of incorporating sustainability initiatives.
One of the SDGs is gender equality. There are huge projects to attract and promote women in food and agriculture now, and this trend is growing. Focusing on helping women in industry will also increase our businesses and our opportunities.
From its beginnings, our corporate culture has been built on the principles of economy and resource conservation, which continues today. In Europe, we’re running out of power — that’s the next challenge, and we can meet that challenge with sustainable practices. It’s important not to view sustainability as a project but as something we must incorporate into our daily lives.
The whole industry is going in this direction and we have the opportunity to be leaders. Just think, if one secondary school student is able to initiate a global movement to raise awareness about climate change, I wonder what we are capable of as individuals, as corporate entities, and as an industry.
If you want to take action, visit https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org. I don’t think one person can do everything, but I believe everybody can do something—and taking action is infectious.
Can you afford not to build corporate sustainability?
The United Nations have launched sustainable development goals as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The goals are addressing the global challenges we are facing including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environment degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve each goal and target by 2030.
At NoroGard we are convinced that Corporate sustainability has developed from a nice thing to do, -to something we have to do.
Today the world is so well connected it is impossible to act as an individual or a national company on these global challenges. We must act as world citizens and with global business management.
Globally we are a growing and ageing population, today with a population of 7 billion, to estimated 10 billion when we reach 2100. We are rapidly consuming the natural resources and the CO2 emissions are increasing fast.
As business leaders, we can not be sat on the fence. It is about time we take action.
But making decisions that are beneficial for the climate is not about sacrifices, it is also good for the economy. Investors today value companies based on financial data, financial reports, market share, sales growth and cash flowing valuation.
-But are investment regulations of today fit for purpose tomorrow?
I believe that in order to valuate a company or a business, we need to include performance metrics such as ESG. Environment as in energy consumption, water availability, waste and pollution. Social as in human capital, innovation capacity, employee engagement, supply chain management, lay bore rights and human rights. Governance as in boards and directors.
In these performance metrics you will find your level of corporate sustainability and today the private sector is paying attention. The CEO´s of the private sector sees growth, innovation, competitive advantage and future importance in these metrics.
At NoroGard we always keep an eye on our energy consumption and waste for economical reasons to save us some money. We also take huge pride in the fact that the equipment we build makes a good impact. We design our products to have a low energy consumption, make sure they are easy to clean to reduce waste of water, and compact built to reduce waste and pollution.
To care for our human resources is common sense and the soul of the company culture, an engaged employee keeps thriving for innovations and improvement.
As a female managing director and entrepreneur I find it obvious that diversity and equality is good for business, as well in the workshop as in the board.
Corporate sustainability is good business and it is about reducing risk for the environment, it is not about making sacrifices. Food, energy and water will be the business to invest in as we will need to feed 10 billion mouths.
So, let’s plan for the future, because that is where we are going to spend the rest of our lives!
Pocket Money with a focus on the Environment
Maintaining a competitive advantage requires that you go beyond the traditional strategies to increase quality and lower production costs. New technologies and the evolution of human behavior call for machines that continuously adapt to their operating environments.
Modern machines are smarter, safer and greener. They are more connected, flexible and efficient. Using smart technology, they enable preventive maintenance, easy collaboration and lower cost of ownership.
Smart agriculture is a growing field, with Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology available to track the location and condition of livestock, monitor the growing conditions of crops, and optimize the performance of farm equipment (using precise geo-location to minimize wastage in crop-spraying operations, for example).
High-value crops can be monitored by wireless sensors for a range of parameters (air temperature, humidity, soil temperature, soil moisture, leaf wetness, atmospheric pressure, solar radiation, trunk/stem/fruit diameter, wind speed and direction, and rainfall), with real-time data gathered by an on-site gateway, sent to the cloud and accessed via Internet-connected computers or smartphones. This information allows irrigation and other agricultural interventions to be precisely matched to local growing conditions.
The seed treatment equipment of today has sophisticated supervision and operation systems and it’s a great advantage to be able to communicate with your Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).
You can supervise your seed treatment from anywhere, using your PC, tablet or even your phone. You get information on how much you have treated, how much products you have used etc. You have access to your quality control and operating panel anywhere you are. If something should happen, engineers can easily access the PLC of your seed treater and do damage control. They can determine what´s failing and also talk to the machine. This saves time and maybe also a trip for the service manager.
Engineers can upgrade or reprogram the PLC for you from anywhere in the world. A sophisticated supervision system makes sure the seed is treated according to your recipe. You tell the system your credentials and tolerances. The machine will continuously control the flow and the seed treatment process. If anything out of the ordinary happens, the seed treater will tell you. The M2M Internet connection on your treater will help to address the issue in a quick and smooth manner. Maybe you are located out far from the service provider, perhaps even on a mobile seed treatment truck. With a sophisticated Internet-connected supervision system, you have access to all technical support if needed.