Working with Our Suppliers

Our Global Procurement team has a number of mechanisms in place to assess the sustainability practices of our suppliers.


IPL has processes in place to assess potential and current contracted suppliers to ensure sustainability risks are well understood and addressed. Potential and current contracted suppliers are assessed using a questionnaire that covers environment, social and governance aspects and the Global Procurement team works with suppliers on gap closing action plans where required. Contracts between IPL and materials suppliers also contain clauses that are consistent with IPL's expectations of suppliers’ workplace health, safety and environmental performance. The assessment of suppliers and close out of assigned actions is monitored through regular reporting.

We will deliver best cost commercial outcomes aligned with stakeholder requirements through a sustainable, systematic sourcing process and active management of supplier spend.

In 2017, IPL continued to apply BEx methodologies and risk management tools to our sustainable supply chain model, with a particular focus on continued improvement in the management and engagement of existing contracted suppliers. In addition, we began a review of our existing processes against the new Standard for Sustainable Procurement, ISO:20400, which was released in 2017. This standard introduces an internationally agreed standard for sustainable procurement and provides guidance, rather than certification, on integrating sustainability into the procurement process. 

In line with our commitment to develop the sustainability of our supply chain, we continued to work with suppliers, customers and industry bodies on a range of initiatives in 2017 to reduce our impacts and bring positive change. Two of these are outlined in the case studies below.

Case Study: Working with RightShip to reduce, quantify and offset Scope 3 carbon emissions associated with our global shipping


During 2017 we continued to minimise the emissions associated with our global shipping contractors in the performance of their services for us. By using the RightShip Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Rating to find more efficient shipping vessels, we are using our influence to bring change in the maritime industry by rewarding ship owners that prioritise energy efficiency in line with our values, our commitment to minimise environmental impacts, and our drive to improve our financial performance.


Selecting more efficient ships means less energy used as fuel, lowered fuel costs and reduced Scope 3 carbon emissions.

As part of this engagement with our global shipping suppliers, we were also able to quantify the Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions associated with our global shipping for the second year. The Rightship GHG methodology uses the standard European energy efficiency scale and allows emissions to be benchmarked and tracked per journey and over time. The methodology has been verified according to an internationally recognised standard (EN16258:2012). Although present data collection systems do not currently allow us to calculate the amount of emissions avoided by our use of more efficient vessels, we continue to work with our suppliers to be able to calculate this in 2018.


During 2017, the Scope 3 emissions associated with our global shipping were 73,142 tCO2e. Through an opportunity provided by Rightship and CBL Markets in 2017, we are pleased to report that we were able to offset these emissions through the purchase of verified carbon credits.

Although a small contribution to reducing our total impact, this is the first offset purchase by an Australian company in the global shipping space, and we continue to look for opportunities to work with our suppliers to bring change in new ways.



Case Study: In 2017, IPL continued to work with suppliers, customers and industry bodies to collect and recycle our fertiliser packaging through the Farm Waste Recovery initiative.

In any given year, over 80% of our fertiliser sales are bulk sales which require no packaging. However, approximately 15% of our fertilisers are transported to customers in one tonne FIBCs (Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers) and 5% is sold in small packs. Prior to 2015, we used reusable FIBCs to reduce our packaging impacts. With the move to single trip plastic packaging, in order to improve customer safety and reduce the risk of potential spills to the environment, we worked with our fertiliser packaging suppliers, plastics reprocessing companies, 23 local councils, the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, and ‘Farm Waste Recovery’, a subsidiary of the Australian agricultural industry body, AgStewardship, to establish the Sugar Cane Fertiliser Bag Recovery Trial. AgStewardship’s key objective is to support and develop Australian Agriculture’s environmental sustainability and stewardship, while the key objective met by the trial was to develop a sustainable model for the collection of fertiliser bags and the reuse of the recovered materials. 


Due to its success, we are continuing to extend the bag collection and recycling program across eastern Australia through providing financial and promotional support to encourage growers to tie the bags in bundles and drop them at local council and private farm collection centres, where they are bailed for transportation to Brisbane for recycling.


Now in its third year, the Farm Waste Recovery program continues to grow, with 41% more plastics collected than last year and 60% more than the pilot year. 384 tonnes of plastics were collected in 2017 for recycling, which is the equivalent of 116,230 fertiliser bags. The success of this program demonstrates the commitment of our customers to a sustainable recycling option for our fertiliser packaging.

Not only was the volume of plastic collected in 2017 enough to make 2,000 park benches, it means tidier farms, less material going into landfill sites and less likelihood of the plastic packaging ending up in the environment.