Hot on the heels of Federated Farmers announcement last week about its role as Business Manager for the Agrecovery Foundation, another organisation in pastoral farming, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, is ramping up support for the Agrecovery rural recycling programme.

Beef + Lamb General Manager Farm, Richard Wakelin says our clean-green image and reputation is at stake every day. He says the goalposts are continually shifting, with consumers increasingly concerned about animal welfare and how goods are produced.

With this in mind, the organisation is supporting the Agrecovery Rural Recycling programme in its drive to encourage more farmers to recycle their farm plastics.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand is right behind Agrecovery because it’s a perfect fit with good management practices that support sustainable farming systems,” says Richard.

“Keeping the farm tidy and operating to its full potential includes careful and considered disposal of contaminated materials and hazardous substances.

“Simply put this is good management practice to support sustainable farms for future generations and it can also contribute to positive market drivers.”

A move to best environmental practice on farms, as well as on orchards and vineyards is a must given that it’s commonly accepted by most exporters that New Zealand’s point of difference in world markets is its brand value based on sound environmental practices, rather than price or volume.

According to a recent article by Pure Advantage, an organisation developing the New Zealand business case for green growth, being clean and green is vital for exporters for three reasons: continued market access, brand strength, and rebuffing competitors.

The Pure Advantage article, “Access to Export Markets”, cites a 2008 report which states “a 5% reputational loss in primary products and international tourism will cost the economy more than 22,000 jobs, and $455 million direct loss p.a.” and goes on to say that exporters are facing serious green scrutiny by international mega-retailers who use their buying power to transform their entire supply chains by requiring that suppliers disclose carbon, water and ecosystem effects.

So does the recycling of waste plastic with Agrecovery really make a difference?

A leader in the tourism industry stated the obvious when discussing the 100% Pure brand: “We’re all in this together – the environmental credentials of all of us will determine the success of this country internationally.”

Good agricultural and horticultural practices such as recycling plastic waste, backed up by auditable reports of recycling activity which Agrecovery can provide, are simple steps proving that the 100% Pure brand is not green washing but a fact farmers and growers can demonstrate, one property at a time.