Stewardship and Compliance at UPL
UPL is an aggressively growing company and a leader in providing sustainable agricultural solutions comprising seed, chemical, natural, organic, biological and post-harvest product portfolios. With this broad range of innovative products, UPL bears the responsibility of managing these products throughout their life cycles to reduce their potential impact on humans and the environment. In essence, that is the role of UPL's Stewardship and Compliance function. Stewardship is an important aspect of our business in terms of adding real value to customers, business partners, and farmers.
UPL is engaged in the process of establishing effective stewardship systems in each of the following seven stages of product life cycles:
Research and Development
In the world of research and development (R&D), UPL seeks to develop products that are biologically efficient, environmentally sound, user friendly and economically viable. UPL is working towards the vision of a perfect product as it creates new products or reformulates existing products. Once developed, the products are investigated for their physico-chemical properties, efficacy, phytotoxicity, toxicology, ecotoxicology, environmental fate and metabolism. For example, how safe and effective are they? How quickly, does it break down in the soil? Are any residues left on the crop? It is also vital to establish the effect that the molecule has on people, which includes the manufacturers, growers and consumers. UPL not only focuses on crop yield, but also on a variety of fundamental environmental, social, and economic concerns.
UPL has been active in developing mechanisms and processes to meet certain environmental, health and safety, and other social objectives. The Company pursues improved energy efficiency, improved water efficiency, reduced waste, and improved worker health and safety. UPL operates global programs in support of continuous improvement as a means of reducing any potential occupational accidents and illness. We comply with local labor and health and safety laws, and remain fully aligned with Responsible Care®.
Storage, Transport and Distribution
Crop protection products need to be handled safely to ensure protection of the environment and safety of workers. This stewardship principle assures safe storage, transport and distribution of crop protection products, as well as guidelines and standards for the storage of crop protection products. UPL also trains warehouse employees in safety techniques and practices, and ensures that these standards are constantly met through effective management control mechanisms. Similarly, UPL practices effective management of the transportation process. Appropriate equipment, handling, environmental consideration, and local laws are part of UPL's efforts to encourage high standards and eliminate any instances of malpractice. In addition, UPL distributors are regularly trained to meet industry standards and comply with local regulations.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
IPM uses the best combination of cultural, biological and chemical measures, including plant biotechnology, to provide the most cost-effective, environmentally sound and socially acceptable methods of managing diseases, insects, weeds and other obstacles in agriculture. UPL promotes IPM strategies as the optimal approach to pest control and provides training, new products and tools that can be used in concert with IPM strategies. Active endorsement of, and support for, IPM not only enables sustainable agriculture, but also sustainable businesses.
Product labels provide instructions on how the product should be used and advises the user about appropriate safety precautions. These precautions include the use of personal protective equipment, clear handling instructions, spray preparation and application rates, periods between application and re-entry into the crop, and the periods between application and crop harvest. Safe use of the product is significant in terms of its potential impact on human health and the environment.
UPL recognizes the need to manage packaging to reduce waste and maximize recycling. The Company works to ensure that the containers in which products are supplied are also treated and disposed of safely and appropriately. Several major programs of container recycling are in operation in several countries across the world.
Disposal of Obsolete Stocks
Stewardship prevents the build-up of obsolete stocks by emphasizing the importance of better warehousing, training in the management of crop protection product stocks, and regulation of the trade in counterfeit and sub-standard crop protection products. Further, UPL's stewardship activities place guidelines on how obsolete stocks can be disposed of efficiently and safely by bringing together all skilled resources.
UPL recognizes that it bears full accountability and liability for UPL products, and has shouldered the responsibility for running stewardship programs. At the start of the stewardship cycle, UPL can easily maintain tight control and oversight of the various processes. However, as the product moves through its life cycle, more and more stakeholders become involved, requiring UPL to take a leading role in educating all stakeholders and involving them in stewardship activities. Partnerships are critical for developing and implementing policies, training programs and advisory material.
UPL is committed to promoting effective stewardship in and beyond the field, and believes that the appropriate management and use of our products help underpin sustainable agriculture and safeguard the environment and public health.
In the next blog post, we will examine a variety of UPL programs that have been implemented to drive stewardship activities in the field.