OSI Group’s New Environmental, Occupational Health and Safety Policy for the United States
January 22, 2020
Like any successful organization, OSI establishes goals for the company and a number of our activities. It is important that we fully understand our goals, as clearly defined goals give us direction. Our goals show us where we need to be as an organization and the measurement of our success against these goals shows us when we have missed the mark.
To ensure we are doing everything we can to achieve our goals, we need a playbook. Just as any good sports team knows, a playbook helps the team visualize targets and determine what is needed to be successful. It also ensures that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and that fundamental tasks and more established, complex goals are used as guiding lights. The approach of understanding our goals and operating from a playbook helps us achieve many things at OSI, but perhaps none more important than our environmental, occupational health and safety goals.
The newly released OSI Group Environmental, Occupational Health and Safety (EHS) Policy Statement is our guiding light in the United States for ensuring that we are doing everything we can to protect our shared environment, our people and the communities in which we operate. OSI Group wouldn’t exist without our employees, which is why it is so important to not only care for them, but to formalize policy and procedures, so that all of our employees can come to work each day feeling safe and driven by a common purpose.
IMPACT-DRIVEN GOALS ARE THE KEY TO A MEANINGFUL EHS POLICY
We use feedback from our stakeholders to create goals that focus on the issues that have been highlighted as most important for minimizing EHS risks and driving continuous improvements in the categories of both environmental responsibility and safety. Our goals are also structured to ensure we are making meaningful impacts throughout our operations.
We are working to reduce the environmental impact resulting from our operations, focusing primarily on conservation and climate change. As such, we use water and energy sustainably, reduce waste wherever possible throughout our operations, and work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We also support efforts to protect forests and build resilience to a changing environment.
Another equally important impact-driven goal focuses on our social responsibility as an organization. Our social responsibility efforts extend to two main areas: the workplace and the communities in which we operate. To ensure we are making positive impacts in these areas, we reduce workplace hazards (and have been recognized for our efforts with a prestigious award); respect workers’ rights; empower our workforce with the skills they need to succeed; provide safe, quality food; enrich our communities; and support individuals most affected by food and agriculture supply chains.
FAMILY FIRST IS THE FOUNDATION OF OSI’S EHS POLICY
Family is one of the most important components of the OSI Group. We are a family-owned business that aspires to maintain a family-oriented workplace that protects the health and safety of all individuals and visitors to our facilities. For that reason, we focus on sustainability, environmental stewardship and safety protections for our people, addressing each of these focus areas by adopting principles which are based on our core values as a company.
These core values guide everything we do at OSI: act with integrity, explore innovative solutions, strive to continually improve, seek partnering relationships, work together as a team and do what is best for the group. And these values all play a role in defining our environmental, occupational health and safety policy principles.
First and foremost, we comply with all applicable legal requirements and other obligations. Given our broad network of farmers, facilities and partners throughout the United States, we make sure to stay on top of the differences in requirements pertaining to each region, state and local municipality. And if there is any issue of non-compliance, we aim to be the first ones to report it.
Regarding requirements and regulations, we also empower our employees and people under our direction to be aware, trained and competent to conduct their activities in a safe, compliant and environmentally responsible manner. And throughout their activities and our operations, we are continually assessing risk, reducing hazards and improving our programs and performance by monitoring key indicators, reporting progress and devising and following plans.
One of the risks we are working to avoid is polluting the environment in the communities in which we operate around the United States. We do this by minimizing, segregating, reusing and recycling waste and by-products that could threaten or cause harm to people, the air, water or land.
Pollution is just one area on which we are focusing to reduce our carbon footprint. Our EHS Policy also includes the reduction of resource withdrawal by improving efficiencies, optimizing sustainable strategies in the use of energy, water, natural resources and raw materials. We also emphasize the use of renewables in building design, operations, new partnerships and technologies.
One example of this principle in action is our plant in Riverside, California. The Riverside plant has been recognized several times for its efficiency and green operations. In 2014, this plant received the Outstanding Waste Reduction Award by the City of Riverside Public Works Department and the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce. Those same organizations awarded the plant the following year, in 2015, for its sustainable design and innovation. And the Riverside plant officially received its certification as a green business by the city in 2016. In 2019, the plant was nominated for Food Processing’s Green Plant of the Year Award.
WE KNOW IT TAKES A VILLAGE
While we are confident that the principles in our EHS Policy are necessary parts to our effective playbook, we also know that this, like most things at OSI Group, is a team effort. That is why many of our principles in this policy focus on our employees and partners.
We consult with our employees on a regular basis and promote employee involvement on safety committees, performing workplace risk assessments and implementing risk reduction efforts. We also partner with contractors, suppliers, service providers and customers to support our goals and encourage our partners to share our principles and high standards of performance.
While all of these principles are grounded in solid theory and best practices utilized by OSI and the industry in the United States, it is still important to ensure that they are having the practical impacts that we desire. That is why we also focus on driving accountability through regular, rigorous assessment and verify conformance to our EHS Management System. This ensures we are achieving our stated commitments. Such assessments are also in place to ensure compliance with legal requirements and other obligations, as well as provide recommendations for improvement.
Accountability becomes easier when everyone involved understands the policy, principles and goals. So we communicate this policy and achievements against our stated commitments and principles to our employees, customers, suppliers and other interested parties. And we commit the necessary resources to support these principles for all functions and at all facilities.
It is the responsibility of our leaders and managers to demonstrate EHS leadership, ensure these commitments are understood and effectively implemented, and help build a culture across OSI where all employees embrace these commitments as their responsibility in their day-to-day practices and behaviors as an integral part of their job. These responsibilities ensure we are achieving the goals outlined in our EHS policy and that we are reducing our impact on the environment while making sure our employees get home safe and happy to their families each day.