The Costa Group is Australia’s leading fresh fruit and vegetable grower, packer, and marketer. To support acquisition of several agricultural businesses and properties around Australia, Costa engaged Golder to undertake environmental due diligence (EDD) investigations.
The purpose of our investigations was to identify environmental risks, liabilities or constraints that may affect continued and future operations at the sites and provide advice to reduce environmental uncertainties and associated risks that may exist.
To prepare the EDD reports, we reviewed publicly available information relating to each site’s geology, hydrogeology, planning and zoning. We also reviewed environmental regulatory information, such as historical and current licences and permits, as well as enforcement notices.
Facilities were inspected to assess operations and management of environmental issues. The inspections included aspects such as environmental management systems and processes, chemical and fuel storage, air and noise emissions, surface water, dams and irrigation networks, weed and pest management, erosion and sediment controls, waste types and management, potential contamination sources, cultural heritage, and vegetation management.
Our EDD reports provided an overview of the regulatory framework for the respective jurisdictions and summarised the findings of the desktop reviews and site inspections. The reports highlighted potential environmental issues and recommended appropriate actions to potentially mitigate risks, or correct any identified issues, should the acquisition proceed.
Golder has also provided Costa with advice and support on environmental management and regulatory compliance matters at various growing, packing and processing facilities. We inspected the facilities; reviewed environmental management practices, procedures, and infrastructure; and engaged with operational staff to understand their experience and business imperatives. We identified opportunities for Costa to manage and mitigate risks in ways that aligned with the facility’s specific operations.
In addition to this particular EDD work, Golder has been engaged by Costa since 2012 to provide guidance on its interactions with regulatory authorities, including how to respond to regulators on specific matters and identifying appropriate environmental risk mitigation controls and options to address any concerns.