California grape grower-shipper publishes first Corporate Social Responsibly Report

Sun World International, LLC, published its first corporate social responsibility report on February 20, 2018. The report details the goals that The Better Future Project, Sun World’s CSR program, aims to achieve by 2022 and progress made to date. Benchmarking for The Better Future Project was conducted in 2016 and the program officially launched on Earth Day in 2017. It’s led by a cross-functional committee of Sun World employees who collaborate with farmworkers, scientists, engineers, non-profit organizations, and municipalities.

“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,” Sun World CEO Merrill Dibble said. “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.”

Sun World CEO Merrill Dibble

The report outlines goals targeting achievement by 2022 in three core areas of corporate social responsibility: Empowering our People, Protecting our Environment, and Innovating for Sustainability.

With respect to empowering the people of Sun World, the company has set a goal to train at least 2,500 farm workers on skills that support career development and personal well-being such as ESL classes, adult education opportunities, financial asset-building courses, and interpersonal communication training. Sun World also launched a company Safety Program to actively incentivize safe behavior in the workplace. Each year the company has exceeded their goal and achieved workplace illness and injury ratings well below the industry average.

Sun World’s environmental initiatives focus on renewable energy, water conservation and soil and bee health. The company is investing in renewable energy and has set aside land for solar power installations in 2018, aiming to have 10 percent of their power generated by these on-site energy sources. Water conservation efforts include the development of over 500 acres of groundwater retention ponds, and sourcing 75 percent of their water from these basins in dry years. In addition to improving energy and water efficiencies, Sun World is also supporting soil and bee health by planting cover crop and hedgerows on at least 50 percent of its acreage.

Innovation is the underlying practice leading the way for Sun World’s future for sustainability. In addition to incorporating data-driven sustainability benchmarks, measurement, and reporting – all of which have been critical to Sun World’s success – future goals include working towards the development of high yielding, proprietary grapes grown with lower inputs and water use. The company is also working to track greenhouse gas impact and water usage.

“The Better Future Project is beginning to shape and mold our culture here at Sun World,” Dibble said. “We are encouraged by our progress so far and look forward to delivering on our set goals.”

Read the full corporate social responsibility report here.

Natalie Shuman
Sun World
Tel: +1 (661) 330-3088

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