Duxton has been actively pursuing sustainable solutions and opportunities as part of doing the business, and our sustainability initiatives to date have supported our focus SDGs across different projects. Moving forward, we are leveraging support from NSW Sustainability Advantage Program as a member to strategically plan and implement our initiatives in alignment with the SDGs and their targets, and measure and monitor progress.
1. WATER MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION INITIATIVES
Water Use Efficiency
Duxton Nuts adopted the dendrometer technology with additional analytics to optimise on-farm water use. The adoption of this technology has reduced the farm’s irrigation needs as we can determine water stress levels of each section of the farm at any point in time, informing us when to water and how much water to use. This means we only use the water that is required for the walnut trees to be at an optimal level of moisture.
A dashboard image of a monthly plant stress analysis for Duxton Nuts
Duxton Nuts also employs a Precision Surface Irrigation (PSI) technology, which helps the company to capture surface water during high rainfall periods for irrigation use.
With the recent construction of an on-site 400ML dam, the business further increases water use efficiency by utilising the full capacity of the dam three times annually, with most water being captured surface water.
Native Fish Conservation
In partnership with NSW Local Land Services, Duxton Vineyards installed two fish screens on water pumps in 2022, an additional mechanism to avoid fish eggs, larvae and adult fish being sucked in when pumping. The ecological benefits of fish screen installment have been demonstrated by past studies in another NSW catchment, with 3.5 native fish per ML being saved on average. ABC Rural’s coverage on this initiative is here.
|2. RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTION PRACTICES CERTIFIED|
Certified as Sustainable
Duxton Vineyards is the largest sustainably certified vineyard business in Australia under the Freshcare Australian Wine Industry Standard of Sustainable Practice in Viticulture and Winery. Freshcare’s focus sustainability areas are: land and soil; water; energy; people and business; and waste.
With this certification, a sustainable wine range called “Rewild” was launched, vegan friendly wine that is sustainably made with minimal intervention. The brand also uses FSC-certified recycled cardboard and light weight bottles with labels made from recycled sugar cane.
|3. CLIMATE ACTION|
|Baselining for Emission Reduction|
In partnership with 2XE, NSW Government and Green Industry SA, those land-based Duxton projects (Duxton Dried Fruits, Duxton Orchards, Duxton Dairies Cobram, Duxton Vineyards etc) have baselined, or are baselining, direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their operations. We follow Climate Active Certification standards in our measurement to transition our businesses towards carbon neutrality. The baseline results have been informative for Duxton businesses to benchmark their carbon footprint and identify major sources of emissions. Duxton projects are looking into emission reduction opportunities, such as renewable energy opportunities, irrigation water use efficiency, etc.
Energy Efficiency Improvement and Next Gen Energy
Duxton Vineyards rebuilt the electrical control system at the Euston site, resulting in 10-15% reduction in electricity use. At the Wentworth site, Duxton Vineyards uses eco- friendly, long lifecycle batteries for off-grid office operations. The company also rolled out an irrigation pump overhaul program in 2021 to ensure best energy efficiency in moving water.
Duxton Vineyards signed an MoU with LAVO in 2021, an Australian technology company, to explore opportunities for commercial applications of LAVO hydrogen storage solutions.
|Carbon Sequestration Opportunity|
We actively seek innovative ways to investigate the potential to sequester carbon into our soil in different agricultural settings, such as broadacre and alley crop farming, in partnership with ag-tech, university and other industry players. Duxton has recently funded a PhD project at the University of Adelaide to investigate the potential of microbial inoculums to assist in soil carbon sequestration and improve plant productivity.
|4. SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION PRACTICES ON FARMS|
We embrace regenerative agricultural practices by applying the following core principles of ‘less inputs’, ‘minimum disturbance’, ‘keeping soil covered’ and ‘environmental improvement’.
- Duxton Vineyards implements inter-row cover cropping. It helps improve soil structure, reduce nitrogen losses from leaching, build organic matter and protect against water and wind erosion. It also helps with weed management.
- Duxton Nuts has been deploying Weed Seeker, an automatic spot spray system with sensors installed to spray weeds in a targeted manner. This technology has brought both ecological benefits (e.g. minimal herbicide use) and economic benefits (e.g. significant savings in input costs, estimated to be around $600 per ha).
- Integrating livestock into the orchard system: Duxton Apples hosts the neighbouring farm’s sheep during winter (after harvest) to keep down the grass between rows. This brings many benefits, including reduced herbicide use, bringing natural fertilisers while effectively managing diseases from fallen orchard leaves.
Terrestrial Biodiversity Conservation
Duxton Vineyards has supported the ‘Regent Parrot Initiative’, the biodiversity conservation of the vulnerable species Eastern Regent Parrot by revegetating 70+ ha on the property. This project was implemented in partnership with NSW Local Land Service and local community groups.
| 5. PEOPLE-POSITIVE INITIATIVES|
|Employment Pathways for Refugees|
|A dedicated project team at Duxton works closely with various agencies across government, non-for-profit and industry to facilitate employment opportunities across the Duxton Group and provide ongoing support for Ukrainian and other refugees seeking a new life in Australia. Our key partners include Adelaide-based Community Corporate.|
|Local Community Engagement and Partnership|
|Duxton believes in embedding the business within local communities. Duxton Vineyards, for instance, has been sponsoring a number of local sports clubs as a local community partner. The business has also collaborated with local high schools and SuniTAFE to support their education and R&D projects. These partnership projects have provided successful career pathway for local students to embark on a successful career in horticulture at Duxton Vineyards.|
|Cultural Heritage Protection|
|Duxton Vineyards undertook on-site cultural heritage surveys with Barkindji Maraura Elders Environment Team (BMEET) in 2021, with support from NSW Local Land services. This work was vital prior to disturbing ground for revegetation so that no significant items were damaged. The surveys found a large amount of items of significance across the site. Duxton is committed to further strengthening the partnership for cultural heritage protection on the farm.|