One of the Latin roots of the English word “education” is educere, which means to “lead out”. If we’re leading “out” – it implies the knowledge/understanding is already “in” there. When the gentleman made the comment I’ve used as the title to this blog (and I quoted in the previous one), I noticed he was expressing a very natural understanding of the connection between the farming activities and his surroundings. He inherently knew that he had a responsibility to “keep it that way”.

So, what does it mean to “keep it that way” in the day-to-day workings on the farm? If the concept “Allah gave us a clean world, we should keep it that way” is an underlying principle for you, is it reflected in your business activities? If yes, how? If not, what could you do differently?

  • What choices could you make regarding the use of chemicals (pesticides/fertilizers) and their application – are there alternatives which are less harmful and can be applied with more precision?
  • What options do you have with regard to waste disposal – does simply dropping an empty container “where you stand” line-up with keeping the world clean?
  • What choices do you make regarding packaging – is the plastic recyclable or is there a more environmentally friendly substitute?
  • How do you “tell your story” (intentions and efforts) – to your employees, your clients, your suppliers, other relevant third parties?

Of course, answering these questions (and any other matters relevant to this topic) has a price-tag and could increase costs – that’s certainly a possibility. What’s also a possibility is that the mere act of asking yourself these questions, taking time to review and evaluate your production process, and related activities, could lead to improved efficiency and cost-savings! In addition, through telling your story, you share your vision – inspiring employees to contribute, attracting the interest of clients, enhancing your reputation and finding like-minded people to talk to about your experiences/challenges (fostering mutual learning and progress).

In fact, the Farm to Fork Strategy (at the heart of the European Green Deal) aims to make food systems “fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly”. The Strategy document states “The transition to sustainable food systems is also a huge economic opportunity….. expectations are evolving and driving significant change in the food market. This is an opportunity for farmers….. as well as food processors and food services. This transition will allow them to make sustainability their trademark.. …The transition to sustainability presents a ‘first mover’ opportunity for all actors in the EU food chain”.

There is opportunity here! And remember, responsible business practice (CSR) is a process – step-by-step, everyday working towards being a responsible business. What’s vital, is to start – to take that first step! “Often the greatest challenge, is to actually begin”.

Will you take up the challenge?