SIZA implemented the Environmental Second-Party Verification programme as part of its drive towards continuous improvement and to manage environmental risks within the agricultural sector. With the vision of enabling South African agriculture to be a global leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship, the programme was developed with the purpose to evaluate and report on good environmental practices. By evaluating current practices and focusing on maintaining the environment, the programme will assist farms and pack houses to implement sustainable practices across the four cornerstones of the environment namely soil; water; energy, materials & waste; and biodiversity.
The implementation of sustainable business practices lends itself to efficient operations and saving of costs. Sustainable agriculture requires the efficient management of soil, water, materials, waste and energy, while simultaneously taking care of the environment. The Environmental Second-Party Verification programme therefore assists businesses to establish comprehensive management systems, manage environmental risks and to improve on key performance indicators across the four cornerstones of the environment.
During environmental second-party verification site visits, environmental specialists assist suppliers with technical support and advice to improve their environmental practices. This process (first visit) has have no additional costs to suppliers, as it is built into the annual environmental membership fee. The aim is to reach each supplier at least once in a three to four year verification cycle. During the second-party verification visit, a site tour of the production areas/facilities, chemical and fuel storage areas, waste management facilities, as well as natural areas will take place to obtain visual evidence of compliance towards the SIZA Environmental Standard. This will be followed by a thorough review of applicable environmental documentation such as environmental management policies and plans, as well as applicable registration papers and permits. Where areas of improvement are identified, the environmental specialists will assist the business with site-specific, practical measures that can be implemented to not only reach compliance with the SIZA Environmental Standard, but to conduct business more sustainably and efficiently.
The SIZA Environmental Second-Party Verification has already illustrated great progress and successes where businesses have started to focus on measuring and monitoring their inputs. This has helped them to identify areas of improvement and to react proactively in managing their environmental risks. The SIZA environmental second-party verification programme is a win-win recipe for everyone involved.
For detailed information on the SIZA Second-Party Verification Process and Methodology, please follow the link: SIZA Enviro Second-Party VPM.