Thursday, September 11, 2014

G4 goes MAD with Netafim

Why do we love our work? Because we get to help companies like Netafim tell their story. In this case, we all went a little MAD. That's not MAD like crazy cuckoo but MAD like Mass Adoption of Drip Irrigation. The more you know about drip, the more MAD you become. It's compelling, it's an imperative, it's the present and it's the future. Drip irrigation is about sustainable agriculture, efficient use of resources, water conservation, improved yields and quality of food crops and improved livelihoods for millions of large growers and smallholder farmers around the world. Drip irrigation is synonymous with Netafim Ltd, a group of thousands of dedicated, passionate individuals who come together with a collective mission to make the entire world MAD. (Nothing new here - Netafim has been the leading world pioneer of drip irrigation since 1965, check out Netafim's legacy website).

We love Netafim and we love MAD. And this is the report that we helped create for Netafim, describing the sustainability impacts of this MAD-oriented company.

Netafim's 2013 Sustainability Report is written in accordance with GRI's G4 guidelines at core level. It presents both Netafim's 2020 sustainability strategy and most material impacts and the stakeholder engagement process that led to defining both. The report also presents many case studies showing how Netafim is driving it's MAD strategy and the impacts that MAD has at individual and community levels. If you want to skip straight to the stories, the report has a hyper-linked highlights page that will whiz you off to India, Croatia, Brazil, Kenya, Cyprus, Australia and the U.S. and more, to meet with growers and farmers that have gained benefits through adopting drip irrigation, becoming just a little bit MAD.

Or you might prefer to navigate straight to Stockholm. Stockholm holds special significance for Netafim as last year, in 2013, Netafim was awarded one of the highest levels of recognition in the industry for its impacts on water sustainability and sustainable water management at Stockholm Water Week, the Stockholm Industry Water Award (SIWA). This year, in 2014, Netafim presented its spanking new strategy and report in Stockholm. 

You can read on the blog of Netafim's Chief Sustainability Officer, Naty Barak, a staunch MAD propounder, as you might expect, about his experiences in Stockholm, and view Netafim's electronic poster presented at Stockholm 2014 Water Week here.  

But let's get back to drip and being MAD about MAD. Many of you might not know much about drip irrigation and why it is so crucial as a contributing solution to many of the worlds feed-energy-water-land scarcity problems. If this applies to you, you can find a brief explanation of how drip drips in Netafim's report. 

Following extensive consultation with stakeholders, both ongoing as part of Netafim's active participation in many of the leading global collaborative platforms that have water security as their prime focus, and as part of a targeted engagement program to support the preparation of the company's strategic approach and materiality definition, Netafim presents this new report under the theme: At the Heart of the Food-Water-Land Nexus

We are hearing more and more about The Nexus these days, especially in the context of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. It's not just one nexus. Sometimes it's the Food-Energy Nexus, sometimes, the Water-Energy Nexus. Netafim's MAD solutions have the biggest impacts in advancing food, water and land security and these are the three nexus elements that are predominantly relevant for Netafim. The nexus view considers not only each challenge as an individual challenge, but considers all of them as part of one Big Thing. The points at which these challenges interact are the points which offer the greatest global and local opportunities for leveraging smart solutions that deliver the greatest benefits for us and the planet. That's what drip irrigation does and that's why Netafim is totally all about MAD

In the run-up to the 2013 Sustainability Report, we helped facilitate stakeholder engagement at two levels: a large round-table discussion with a diverse group of stakeholders based in Israel where Netafim is headquartered, and a series of discussions with global experts in the sustainable agriculture and sustainable business fields. Experts such as Carlo Galli, Technical and Strategy Advisor, Water Resources at Nestlé, Gavin Power, Deputy Director, United Nations Global Compact, Alejandro Litovsky, Founder & CEO, Earth Security Initiative and Pasquale Steduto, Deputy Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa, FAO  provided their expert input and guidance about MAD and other aspects of Netafim's contribution, and you can read some of their comments in the report.

The result of these consultations and management deliberations was a strategic framework for 2020 and a set of most material impacts around which the 2013 Sustainability Report was structured. These topics and themes will guide and support Netafim's ongoing contribution to global sustainability in the coming years.  

One of the things that we love most about our work at Beyond Business is seeing the personal change and transformation that comes through sustainability culture and practices. Most Sustainability Reports describe what a "company" is doing and how managers and employees take action in the course of their roles. This is great, of course, but there is something special about seeing how the concept of sustainability extends beyond the workplace and into the consciousness of people and other facets of their lives. That's why my favorite part of this report is a piece from Netafim's Marketing Manager, Rachel Shaul. Rachel selected a project related to the impact of drip irrigation as part of academic studies at university, and she shares her insights after having interviewed women farmers in the Indian State of Gujarat. Rachel's perspectives are not just about advancing Netafim's irrigation business, they are about the personal change she experienced in engaging with women farmers, and the way their lives have improved. In the report, Rachel shares some of the comments that she recorded in her interviews, reminding us that sustainability is more than a project or a product or a business, it's about people and life in general. 

I recommend (of course !) that you take a look at the Netafim report and (of course!) give feedback. Maybe you also might become a little MAD.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of Understanding G4: the Concise guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting  AND  Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices . Contact me via   or via my business website   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

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