Steve Muchangi (45 years old) has been working in the industry since 2001. After being Operations Manager for Carzan Flowers, which is now part of Marginpar Group, Steve switched to become Marginpar ESG Officer in 2017.
What exactly is ESG? It stands for Environment, Social, and Governance. "We aim to be a frontrunner when it comes to ESG, and it has become part of our everyday work. ESG committees on each farm focus on day-to-day improvements in subjects like water quality, safety, waste management, composting, and community welfare," the Marginpar team states. Steve and the farm teams are also working closely together with Production Innovation Consultant Sebastian Chambers, who focuses on big innovation projects in the company.
Properly managing ESG may not bring immediate profit to a company, as it requires a lot of investment. Steve: “In short, when we talk about the environment we talk about the planet and taking steps in all our processes to improve care for the environment. The social part is all about people, both internal and external. This means that we take care of our employees, we make sure they have a good working environment and try to improve their home life too, where possible. External stakeholders entail for instance suppliers and neighbors. Lastly, governance is about having proper policies, certifications, and permits in place.”
“We don’t just look at what we are supposed to do according to government regulations and standards, but ‘do what we feel is right’. Why? Because we care for both people and the world we live in, and we know that it is the right thing to do. Of course, we do have all government certifications and permits necessary. The government does a few audits a year, which are actually very welcome because they are a nice confirmation that we are going in the right direction.”
"We also make sure that we stay in the lead and look ahead to anything which is likely to become a requirement in the near future. Steve: “For instance, at the moment, measuring our carbon footprint is not mandatory, but we have partnered with stakeholders (including FSI) to develop a carbon calculator: a tailor-made carbon measurement tool. FSI’s vision is to have all their members be able to measure their footprint by the year 2025, and thanks to our early start, we are going to be way ahead of time.”
The next 5-10 years
Speaking of the future, Steve also talks us through some expected developments in ESG in the next 5-10 years. Steve: “We expect quite a lot of development in terms of ESG. The environment will have a prominent place in our strategies and processes. We believe the more sustainable we are, creating better results, the more we can invest in ESG projects. It is a continuous cycle. For example, we are aiming to generate 40% of our electricity needs from green energy in the next 5 years. Plus, the Marginpar Foundation is going to be of tremendous help in the social development on and around our farms and we are going to continue to be ahead of government regulations and stay on top. The Marginpar Foundation will launch in 2022 and it will mean that we can participate and invest in local projects even better than we already have been."