Review of Environmental, Social, and Labor Issues
Environmental and Labor Issues:
This is a category III project according to the IIC’s environmental review procedure because it could produce certain effects that may be avoided or mitigated by following generally recognized performance standards, guidelines, or design criteria. The main environmental and labor considerations related to the project include handling of agrochemicals and solid waste, occupational safety, and emergency response.
Agrofértil premises have environmental licenses from Paraguay’s secretary of the environment SEAM (Secretaría del Ambiente de la Presidencia de la República), for which they are required to present company environmental impact assessments.
Main Environmental Impacts
Handling of Agrochemicals. The company markets products registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock’s plant and seed quality and health office (SENAVE). Registration involves following specific procedures in accordance with current law, based on the guidelines set out in the regional phytosanitary protection standard issued by the Southern Cone Plant Health Committee (COSAVE).
Agrofértil’s internal safety procedures for handling these products are spelled out in the company's regulations for workers, job description manual, and workplace health and hygiene manual. These documents set out the requisite precautions for preventing accidents and pollution, as well as procedures to follow in the event of accidents.
Agrofértil’s agrochemical storage facilities have a spill channel system to drain any accidentally spilled fluids to enclosed tanks for subsequent removal and disposal. Agrofértil has an agreement for transferring spilled chemicals and treating them at Tecnomyl, a related company that has facilities for this purpose.
Solid Waste. Products are not processed or fractioned on site, so the only waste generated is from the company’s offices and can be treated as municipal waste. They are disposed of in municipal landfills, in compliance with current regulations.
Liquid Waste. Water use is limited to cleaning and personal hygiene, so the wastewater is treated as domestic waste. Sewage is disposed of in septic tanks in accordance with municipal regulations and is subsequently picked up by authorized commercial services.
Occupational Safety and Hygiene. Workers who handle products receive safety equipment and personal protection gear for the specific task performed as provided in the workplace health and hygiene manual and in some specific job descriptions.
All of the workers receive health care coverage and workplace accident insurance. The company also has a preventive medical care program that provides for semiannual check-ups.
The warehouses have firefighting equipment. Workers have received fire response training in the form of educational talks given by volunteer firefighters. The main plant facility has fire extinguishers and a central firefighting system that draws water from a 20 m3 underground tank with an independently powered electric pump that feeds fire hydrants located throughout the building.
Labor Practices. Agrofértil complies with national labor laws. Mandatory core labor standards include social security benefits, freedom of association and organization of workers’ unions, prohibition of forced labor and exploitative and abusive child labor, and nondiscrimination in the workplace. Agrofértil's employees do not belong to a labor union.
Monitoring and Reporting. Agrofértil has developed an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to ensure compliance with domestic regulations and the IIC’s environmental and workplace health and safety guidelines. The EMP includes a yearly report with information on solid waste management, health, safety, and emergency response training programs, and accident reports.