Different companies have different takes on what sustainability really means. Some have the impression that sustainability is all about being organic, whereas others like the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company believe sustainability involves much more. Fred Hulme, technical services director for Scotts, shares his company’s take on it.
“We believe that achieving sustainability is most simply expressed by the convergence of three equal elements–efficiency, economy and ecology–and how these elements can work together effectively,” Hulme says.
“There’s just so much more to sustainability than the type of products you use, and it’s easy to lose sight of that fact. While sustainability does certainly entail leaving a smaller environmental footprint, it’s also about using the most effective products in the most efficient manner in order to increase profitability.”
To express its stance on sustainability even better, Scotts developed a model it’s calling the e3 Approach–efficiency, economy and ecology–to challenge the belief that professional growers cannot use inorganic fertilizer and still have sustainable growing operations. Here is the company’s take on each of those three elements.
Efficiency: “The degree to which something is done without waste” is at the foundation of Scotts Professional’s sustainability model. Sustainability is about professional growers using economic, human and natural resources more wisely–getting maximum output from as little input as possible.
Economy: Efficient use of financial resources means more than just saving money. It means optimizing cost/benefit ratios and maximizing return on investment. Profit is the heart of any economically sustainable enterprise.
Ecology: Nearly every production input has some effect on the environment. All inputs, whether they are natural or synthetic, must eliminate or minimize waste and shrink the carbon footprint of the entire production chain.