Responsible Business

Juice

LDC is one of the world’s top three citrus juice merchandizers, managing over 23,500 hectares of citrus groves in Brazil. 

We are active in more than 70 countries and our operations span the entire citrus juice value chain, from farming to packaged juice distribution.

In 2020, we worked with many stakeholders to embed sustainable practices across our juice operations, guided by our company purpose and aiming to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on several fronts:

  • Decent work and economic development (SDG 8) – we continued to create jobs, train our people and invest to keep them safe, reinforcing already stringent safety measures in the context of the pandemic.
  • Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) – our new eco-efficient fleet cut fuel consumption and sulfur emissions, and operational enhancements at our citrus farms drove a decrease in CO2 emissions.
  • Life on land (SDG 15) – we took further steps to preserve conservation areas and native wildlife in and around our facilities, by increasing the geographic area covered by our Biodiversity Protection and Conservation Plans.

 

“In line with LDC’s vision for a safe and sustainable future, sustainable practices are a cornerstone of our business model.”

Monica Neves

Sustainability Manager, Juice Platform

Health and Safety Culture

The safety and well-being of our people is our top priority. Faced with a new challenge in 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic, we deployed additional protective measures

Those who could work remotely were asked to do so, and dedicated task forces coordinated efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, communicating guidance to our people everywhere, and ensuring appropriate tools, equipment and processes were in place to keep front line employees safe, as they worked to maintain food supply chain continuity.

At the same time, we continued our relentless drive to reduce the frequency, gravity and severity of workplace accidents, with the long-term goal of achieving a zero-accident work environment at all our sites.

FUNKY TAB/GRAPH

In 2020, we achieved a positive result in all our three safety KPIs – the result of a continuous safety improvement journey, with actions such as:

  • Strong safety leadership training focusing on training any employee who has a leadership function; with over 4,000 hours of safety training delivered to 147 supervisors in 2020
  • Focus on prevention for high-risk activities, preventing both likelihood and severity of accidents
  • A consistent CAPEX program to reduce unsafe conditions and, most importantly, mitigate process safety risks
  • Ongoing process safety journey to increase the knowledge of our team, learning from internal and external events to identify and close safety gaps,
  • Shifting from lagging indicators to leading indicators, to increase the focus on prevention rather than reaction to incidents
  • Value Life! Practice Care! campaign to strengthen our safety culture in agricultural operations, reaching over 5,000 employees in 2020
  • Maintenance standardization project to align, organize and embed safety practices in day-to-day farm maintenance activities
  • Safe Harvest program – ongoing since 2014 – to identify and implement safety improvements across our operations
  • Awareness campaigns and prevention actions related to illness and disease, including a free H1N1 vaccination campaign for over 1,200 employees in Brazil in 2020

Notwithstanding these good results, our focus remains on continuous improvement, and we renewed our target to drive an additional 5% reduction in each of the three indexes in 2021.

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Reducing our Environmental Footprint

In all our operations, we continue to focus on reducing our environmental footprint in relation to four key performance indicators (KPIs): electricity & energy consumption, water usage, CO2 emissions and solid waste generation.

In 2020, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, our teams moderated the environmental impact of LDC’s juice operations and delivered significant reductions year-on-year, across these KPI

  • Electricity & energy consumption: down 29%
  • Water usage: down 35%
  • CO2 emissions: down 17.5%
  • Solid waste sent to landfill: down 18.5%
Juices Total201820192020
Energy (Kwh)170.589.623,86161.529.891,99138.674.170,88
GHG (KgCO2)563.373.077,74440.180.134,09349.527.714,33
Water (m3)19.330.551,4817.964.693,8517.204.456,26
Solid Waste (Kg)3.659.939,004.301.131,12342.028,22
Feedstock (MT)3.802.037,714.159.111,452.473.851,78
Juices Total201820192020
Energy (Kwh/MT)44,8738,8456,05
GHG (KgCO2/MT)148,18105,84140,08
Water (m3/MT)5,084,326,95
Solid Waste (Kg)0,961,030,14

Juice Carbon Foot Print
(g CO2e L-1 Juice 11,5 Brix)

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Eco-Efficient Fleet

Over the last two years we have invested close to US$40 million in two purpose-built, eco-efficient vessels, both of which were began operating in 2020.

These state-of-the-art vessels are dedicated to the transport of citrus juices and by-products in climate-controlled tanks, from our export terminal in Brazil to destination markets in Europe and North America.

Each ship is 180 meters long and 30 meters wide, with a mobile tanks storage solution that allows modular flexibility and scalability. Together, the vessels can transport up to 50,000 tons of juice, increasing annual static shipping capacity by around 20% compared to our previous three-vessel fleet.

The old fleet included vessels that shared capacity with third parties, resulting in less control over the routes they took. The new vessels, which LDC own outright, give us more autonomy to operate across preferred export routes, which has increased efficiency and helped reduce fuel consumption by 70% per metric ton of product transported.

The new vessels are also fully compliant with sulfur emission regulation limits. Their introduction has resulted in an 18% year-on-year reduction of CO2 emissions, while sulfur emission levels have been cut by 95% per metric ton of product transported.

Our new juice fleet’s environmental performance will benefit our business for many years to come, and is an important example of LDC’s global commitment to decrease environmental impacts across our operations and align with international regulation.

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Higher Tech, Lower Emissions

In 2020, the majority of LDC-managed citrus farms implemented a telemetry system on our tractors to optimize operational efficiency and reduce our environmental impact through real-time monitoring and control of tractor engines.

Throughout the year, 323 onboard computers were installed, covering 100% of tractors at 30 farms and approximately 18,000 hectares of orange groves.

Some farms also implemented a dual pruning system and optimized vehicle routes in farm corridors, to reduce fuel consumption. Along with the tractor telemetry system, these actions increased daily operating efficiency and drove a 6% reduction of machinery usage and a 5% decrease in idle engine time.

This contributed to a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions for all our farms combined, compared with 2018, our base year for environmental KPIs, and an associated cost saving from lower fuel consumption.

The new telemetry technology also produced safety benefits, allowing real-time communication with operators and therefore swifter resolution, or avoidance, of incidents.

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Zero Waste

The 38 citrus farms managed by LDC in Brazil cultivate fruit that we then process and distribute as citrus juices and by-products to destination markets around the world.

Recognizing resource efficiency as central to sustainability, we try to ensure that no part of the fruit is wasted during processing.

Juice and oils are extracted, dry peel is recovered from ripe oranges, lemons and limes, and the remaining pulp is transformed into fiber-rich citrus pulp pellets. The pellets are sold as an animal feed ingredient, while the essential oils and aromas are primarily used by the flavor and fragrance industries.

In 2020, we created additional value from our fruit and further diversified revenue streams by extracting more value-added products from dry peel. These include gelling and stabilizing agents such as pectin, natural green and clean label fibers, which are sold to the food industry.

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Global Standards

As part of our commitment to sustainable agricultural practices, LDC-managed citrus farms are being verified by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform), which seeks to help shape a sustainable and resilient agricultural sector through strong and secure supply chains.

Using the SAI Platform’s Farm Sustainable Assessment (FSA) evaluation methodology, we assess, improve and verify citrus farm sustainability in relation to management system, labor and human rights, legal and environmental practices. This allows us to build a more resilient, efficient and productive business while reaffirming our environmental and social commitments.

In 2020, we increased the number of farms verified as SAI Platform ‘Gold’ level to 35 (up from 32 in 2019), which represents 92% of LDC-managed farms and further progress in an effort that began in 2017, when we verified our first farm according to SAI Platform standards.

Looking ahead, we have undertaken to verify the three remaining farms to at least ‘Silver’ level in 2021, so that 100% of our Brazilian citrus farms will be officially verified for sustainable practices by the end of the year.

FSA/SAI Progress 2017 – 2021

We also maintained Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM status for 32 of our 38 Brazilian farms in 2020.

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Technology-enabled Traceability

Responsible, sustainable, and transparent production is essential for strengthening relationships with our customers around the world.

We are leading the way in the juice industry with the traceability of our products. In 2018, we were the first juice supplier to track products from grove to glass using blockchain technology, and in 2020, we created LDC’s Trace portal to give juice customers transparent access to full product supply chain data, such as origination, processing and transportation information, quality indicators and certifications. This development offers our customers and consumers:

  • Product traceability – easily and on demand
  • Transparency on supply chain transactions, avoiding fraud and driving accountability
  • Assurance on product reliability and purchasing decisions
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Protect and Conserve

We use Biodiversity Protection and Conservation Plans to frame a range of environmental, social and economic actions that protect and conserve our farms’ diverse native fauna and flora.

We use Biodiversity Protection and Conservation Plans to frame a range of environmental, social and economic actions that protect and conserve our farms’ diverse native fauna and flora. In 2020, we increased the geographic area covered by these plans to include the three farms newly verified by the SAI Platform, bringing the total area mapped for conservation at our farms to some 9,600 hectares.

We have two types of conservation area:

· Legal reserves (LR): Legally determined portions of farm area that are set aside to ensure sustainable economic use of natural resources, contribute to the conservation and rehabilitation of ecological process, and support biodiversity conservation.

· Areas of Permanent Protection (APP): Areas that must be preserved to protect water resources, landscape features, geological stability and biodiversity, and to facilitate flora and fauna gene flow, conserve soil and ensure human wellbeing.

In 2020, around 38,000 native seedlings were planted across our farms as a strategy to recover LR areas, mainly at our Graúna, Monte Belo, Lagoa Azul and São José farms. A further 11,300 seedlings were planted in the APPs at our Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms based on a nucleation reforestation strategy, a method that consists of forming ‘islands’ of vegetation with the ecological capacity to significantly improve the environment, facilitating occupancy by other flora and fauna.

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Promoting Best Practices

As an industry leader, we recognize our key role to influence third-party suppliers to adopt sustainable production practices in line with our own policies.

Since 2015, we have done this through Programa Compartilhar (Share Program), an important way to strengthen ties with third-party fruit suppliers and promote sustainable practices in the sector. Through this program, we share information on new technologies, traceability, biological control, sustainable farm management and responsible use of crop protection products and fertilizers.

In 2020, despite restrictions on face-to-face meetings as a result of Covid-19, we continued to engage with fruit suppliers across the citrus belt through webinars, running two virtual meetings with high levels of participation and interaction with our suppliers.

At the first meeting, we addressed topics such as good harvest practices and care of fruit destined for factories. At the second, we discussed phytosanitary management and the importance of managing and recording information on all farming activities. We also explored remote monitoring and telemetry practices in citrus farming, sharing our good experience with the tractor telemetry project and subsequent emissions reductions across our farms.

We also work continually with our suppliers to encourage compliance with our sustainability policies, and all new and existing suppliers are required to sign our Code of Conduct, which contains guidelines related to human rights, health and safety, business integrity and environmental protection practices.

In 2020, we audited around 30% of our suppliers to check in-situ compliance with these guidelines. Where we observed issues, we worked alongside our suppliers to help them adapt their farms in line with our sustainability policies, and legal and industry requirements. In 2021, we will extend this audit to at least 50% of our suppliers.

We also continued to encourage adoption of sustainability standards established by organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance and SAI Platform, sometimes even sponsoring baseline audits to support suppliers in their pursuit of certification or verification.

In 2020, nearly 80% of fruit sourced from third parties came from ‘Programa Compartilhar’ participants

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Targets

Run ‘Programa Compartilhar’ training in Paraná State

Completion: 2020

Status: Complete

Increase the number of ‘Programa Compartilhar’ participants by 10%

10%

Completion: 2020

Status: Not completed*

Secure SAI Platform Gold Grade verification for 3 additional citrus farms

Completion: 2020

Status: Complete

Complete biodiversity protection and conservation plans for 3 additional citrus farms

2020

Completion: Complete

New Targets

Extend supplier Code of Conduct audits to 50% third-party supplier

50%

Completion: 2021

Status: In progress