Farmlands Cooperative - Christchurch, New Zealand
At Farmlands Cooperative, a sustainable approach to business is about constant improvement and continuous education.
“We are proud to play a pivotal role in the stewardship of our environment,” Harriet Cameron, Sales Manager – Canterbury at Farmlands Cooperative, says. “For Farmlands, environmental respect is about working in partnership with the environment, people, and communities to leave our country in a better place for the next generation. We aim to work with farmers to educate our communities on the positive progress agriculture is making to the environment and protect and grow our reputation. At the Darfield store we are motivated to continually lift the bar on best practices and measure our progress against others in the industry.”
Upon learning the Darfield, Canterbury store had won the award, Farmlands CEO Peter Reidie said, “It is humbling to receive a globally recognized award and something we as an organization can be extremely proud of. It is also a strong indication we are on the right track with our journey.”
The cooperative, which traces its roots to 1962, is 100% owned by 70,000 New Zealand Farmers nationwide, 971 of whom are serviced from the Darfield store. The company has more than 1,400 staff across 82 stores nationwide, who service more than 70,000 New Zealand rural sector shareholders. The Darfield, Canterbury Farmlands store has 15 staff, including four technical field officers who spend their time on farms.
One of the challenges the company must deal with is the misinformation and sometimes hysteria) that surrounds agricultural issues.
“Our technical field officers and branch support and educate the local community and reduce these concerns through providing free technical advice and information,” Cameron says. “Our local team attends all community events, including Kirwee and Courtenay Agricultural and Pastoral shows, rugby club days, and other events to educate the community on these issues. Our staff all live locally and have a high level of community engagement through schools and sports clubs.”
While it might have been the Darfield store that received the award, Farmlands believes it is a reflection of the larger organization and celebrates it so.
“There is a combination of immense pride, validation for hard work, and reward for the commitment we hold to our 70,000 shareholders,” Reidie says. “As an organization, we have a strong culture of celebrating success. We enjoyed celebrating this win with our Farmlanders (staff). Locally, our Darfield team is thrilled to be recognized for the role they have played in shaping the future of agriculture in their community. This has encouraged further conversations about our role in promoting environmental and sustainable farming practices. We are very proud to win this award and look forward to also sharing our success with our shareholders in the coming weeks.”