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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
13 May 2002
Agricultural and veterinary chemicals can not only benefit a farm's production and bottom line, but also reduce impacts on the environment, according to the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone.
Farmers and consumers can now also be more assured that products have been manufactured in an environmentally friendly way. That includes their actual manufacture, packaging and recycling, Dr Stone said.
The National Association for Crop Production and Animal Health (AVCARE) have detailed in their first ever environment report that nearly half of their member companies have implemented environment management systems.
Dr Stone, today officially launched the Report saying Avcare was 'leading the way' in its efforts to help members reduce their environmental impacts.
The Report has been produced as part of Avcare's Eco-Efficiency Agreement with Environment Australia. The Agreement was signed in March 2001, and commits the Association to a range of environmentally efficient activities over three years.
As part of that Agreement, Avcare surveyed its members to assess their environment management practices, and measured their energy, waste and water impacts. The results showed that:
The Report also provides a benchmark to compare the industry's environmental performance over time.
Dr Stone said that Avcare had shown themselves to be serious about the responsibility of crop production and animal health industry by this first ever eco-efficiency survey.
Members of Avcare include Nufarm, Bayer, DuPont, Sumitomo Chemical and Pfizer Animal Health, to name a few.
"As the old saying goes, 'you can't manage what you don't measure', and this survey of Avcare members shows where it's members are at with eco-efficiency and environmental management," Dr Stone said.
Dr Stone commended Avcare for its development of a product stewardship program to be known as Chemclear®. This program will provide for return of unwanted registered agricultural and veterinary chemicals, taking over from the highly successful ChemCollect program, which is a joint $27million Federal-State program that has to date collected over 1270 tonnes of chemicals from farms around Australia.
"Chemclear® will become the new tool for farmers to use when disposing of chemicals, many of which can be quite dangerous to humans and the environment if used incorrectly", Dr Stone said.
While the Commonwealth has been promoting public environment reporting since 1999, the focus has been primarily on company level reporting. There are about 70 Australian companies producing environment reports, but only three other industry associations have so far produced sector level reports.
"Avcare is at the cutting edge of this field, and should feel rightly proud of producing this Industry Environment Report," Dr Stone said.
Eco-efficiency agreements are part of a partnership approach being used by the Commonwealth and business to achieve the common goals of improved efficiency and ecological sustainability.
"Around Australia we have now reached agreements with 22 forward-thinking industry associations who understand that eco-efficiency is the key to the triple bottom line - economic, social and environmental," she said.
Simon Frost (Office of Dr Stone) 0419 495 468
Monday May 13th, 2002