People

Supporting our employees and people in our supply chain will build a stronger business for us, and a better life for them.

SAFETY

Target 8.8: Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers.

Context: We employ 11 people in a modern office.  We source cattle from dozens of certified organic farmers; agriculture has the highest injury and death rate of any sector in Australia, so improving farm safety is a priority for the entire industry.

Actions: Safety is on the agenda of every weekly staff meeting, and employees receive regular training, including an annual first aid refresher.  In 2018/19 we began an EAP Assist mental health program for employees.  No lost time injuries were recorded at OBE Organic in 2018/19.

For our farmers, we regularly include safety messages in our online and producer communications. We have previously worked with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and WorkCover to deliver farm safety training, create farm safety templates, and deliver farm safety webinars, and with industry partners to launched an Online Rural Property Induction to provide a low-cost way to help producers better manage farm safety. Uptake of the Online Rural Property Induction has been lower than hoped, so for a new perspective on how to improve adoption, we held a one-day hackathon with behavioural science consultancy Behavioural Insights in July 2019.  We will be working with our partners to assess the suggestions from this process in 2019/20.

RESILIENCE

Target 2.4: By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.

 

Context:  Supporting producers to be profitable and productive is the key to helping them maintain sustainable agricultural practices, and is at the heart of our business model.  Without them, we have no product to sell and cannot achieve our mission of providing safe food to the families of the world.

Actions: In previous years, our Grazing BMP partnership was our flagship program for providing additional professional development to farmers, and identifying areas of need for additional support. Initiatives generated through this program included:

* Supporting a trial to improve broadband connectivity for remote cattle properties

* Providing training on succession planning and spatial mapping

* Partnering with Livestock Biosecurity Network to create an organic livestock biosecurity template.

We are now assessing other partnerships to support our farmers build their resilience.

DIVERSITY

Target 5.1: End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

Target 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life

Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.

Context:  We believe a diversity of genders and backgrounds creates a diversity of thinking that makes our business stronger.  In the 2016 census, 32% of employees in agriculture were female.  In June 2019 the percentage of women on ASX 200 boards was 29.7%.

Actions: We are a strong advocate for increased diversity in the beef industry.

Our focus has long been on gender diversity, and as at 30 June 2019, 70% of our employees and 60% of our directors were female. We have no formal policy on gender diversity, but recognise aiming for at least 50% female employees and Directors is just good business. Specific initiatives in 2018/19 included:

* Hosting Women Trading Globally events, an Export Council of Australia and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade initiative, to share marketing and exporting tips with a group of female entrepreneurs from South East Asia, Mongolia and Timor-Leste

* Joining the inaugural Meat Women Business committee

* Attending Austrade’s Women in Agribusiness luncheon

* Membership of FemEconomy.

In 2017 we became one of the first agribusinesses to have a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).  In 2018/19 we developed our second RAP – endorsed by Reconciliation Australia in June 2019 – and advocated widely for other agribusinesses to consider how to build relationships, respect and opportunities for the first Australians. While we have just started our RAP journey and have much to learn and do, we are currently meeting our RAP deliverables for building relationships, respect and opportunities with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We also support opportunities for youth.  In 2018/19 we:

* Provided intern work experience for three students from TAFE Queensland and the University of New England

* Hosted a visit from Dalby State High School agriculture students

* Investigated ways to promote Indigenous youth employment to our supply chain.

One of our TAFE interns has since been contracted as a marketing assistant at OBE Organic.