Sustaining the Environment

Our approach to the environment is based on two pillars: no material harm to nature and continuous improvements in energy efficiency.

Producing green energy from waste

After divesting two of our Russian oilseed crushing plants, six of our existing seven facilities (94% of total capacity) use sunflower seed husks, a waste by-product of the crushing process, as their fuel source to produce the steam required for processing. Approximately 44% of sunflower seed husk produced is burned to generate steam, a process that saved us 72 million cubic meters of natural gas in FY2016. At one plant we also co-generate and sell green electricity to the national grid. The remaining volumes of sunflower seed husks are pelletized and sold to third-party co-generation plants in Poland. These plants mix sunflower seed husk with coal to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels. The portion of electricity they produce from our sunflower seed husk covers the annual demand of approximately 300,000 households.

For our overall energy consumption structure and levels, as well as overview of our efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption, please see sustainability section of our FY2016 annual report.

Sustainable farming

Our sustainable approach to farming places an emphasis on long-term soil productivity rather than short-term profits from crops. We prudently plan our crop rotation mix with the objective of ensuring proper replenishment of nutrients in the soil, and apply balanced fertilization to restore nutrients taken out by crops. We leave straw on fields to serve as an organic fertilizer and to help reduce soil erosion. In selecting tillage technology, we develop a balance between root development and soil erosion risk, and apply different methods depending on crop, location and soil pattern. Periodically, we also conduct soil analysis, which is used to adjust our crop mix plans, production technology and fertilization practices. Additionally, we apply an integrated pest management system to ensure the thresholds are set for any pest application and that cultural methods are applied prior to the use of pesticides. Since any use of pesticides is subject to strict regulations, we test and monitor the quality of products in our laboratory prior to wide application. We do not use substances prohibited by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and/ or substances listed in Annex 3 of the Rotterdam Convention.

99% of our acreage is non-irrigated: we use irrigation only to grow seeds for internal needs.