Tuesday, 26 October 2021 11:55

Leaders in sustainability

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Outgoing LIC chief executive Wayne McNee. Outgoing LIC chief executive Wayne McNee.

Wayne McNee says LIC is well-placed to play a leading role in helping farmers meet sustainability goals.

He told Dairy News that the focus on sustainability provides a massive opportunity to add value to dairying.

McNee, who served on the Sustainability Business Council (SBC) board, was instrumental in the release of LIC's first sustainability report.

LIC is part of the Climate Leaders Coalition, The Aotearoa Council and the SBC.

When joining SBC, members are required to introduce annual three reporting practices, which outline progress on environmental, social, governance and economic issues.

McNee says the report meets those requirements from a business perspective, but it's also an opportunity to demonstrate how LIC is responding to sustainability challenges facing farmers and the New Zealand dairy industry.

"As a farmer-owned co-operative and world leader in pasture based dairy genetics and herd management, we have a critical role to play in helping New Zealand's dairy farmers meet their sustainability goals," he says.

McNee says LIC exists to deliver superior genetics and technological innovation to help shareholders sustainably farm a profitable animal.

"So sustainability is baked into our purpose.

"While many industries only recently began responding to climate challenges, LIC and its farmer shareholders began work over 30 years ago to improve genetic gain within the herd using genomics."

The LIC Sustainability Report has information about its environmental, social and economic performance for the year ended 31 May 2021. McNee says LIC has made great progress on its sustainability journey, especially over the last four years.

Some of these are:

  • Record milk production in NZ in 2019-20, without increasing cow numbers. An increased focus on efficiency means that cows around the country are better at converting grass into milk.
  • 1.87% reduction in LIC's CO2 emissions change FY21 compared to FY20.
  • Launched indexes to rank artificial breeding bulls on their environmental efficiency.
  • LIC is working on a world leading methane research programme, investigating the link between methane emissions from bulls and their genetics.

Measuring LIC performance from a social perspectiive is a new feature of the reporting.

Organisational Health Index (OHI) is a McKinsey tool which measures the impact of organisation practices and culture on performance against international benchmarks.

LIC is in the upper end of the second quartile of all tested companies by McKinsey worldwide.

The economic section of the Sustainability Report explains LIC is delivering value to farmer shareholders by investing in initiatives to help them breed the most profitable and sustainable animal.

McNee says LIC is committed to open and transparent reporting on sustainability.

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