Community & Purpose
Zeroing in on long-term sustainability
“Early on we knew we could either be a small producer selling to local markets, or we could steer in a direction that would see us become a strong, locally-based business. We made a commitment to grow and diversify, while still keeping true to the values of where we’re from and what we stand for.” – Richard Seymour
Richard and Neil Seymour harvesting salt from the nearby pink lake with the assistance of Wotjobaluk traditional owner, Adrian Morgan.
Mount Zero Olives, home to Jane and Neil Seymour, is an organic olive grove set on about 200 acres at the base of Grampians, in the Wimmera district of regional Victoria.
“We bought this property back in the early 1990s following the recession,” says Neil. “I grew up on an apple orchard and had some horticultural knowledge, but starting Mount Zero for us was really about establishing a business that valued sustainability, regionalism, provenance and quality produce.”
Jane and Neil’s son, Richard Seymour, is Mount Zero’s General Manager, overseeing marketing, supply chain and business development.
“Early on we knew we could either be a small producer selling to local markets, or we could steer in a direction that would see us become a strong, locally-based business. We made a commitment to grow and diversify, while still keeping true to the values of where we’re from and what we stand for,” says Richard.
According to Richard, underpinning Mount Zero’s success is its focus on biodynamic and organic farming, the use of native ingredients endemic to the region, and strong links to the local Indigenous community.
“In April each year, the local Indigenous community helps us get out on a nearby pink lake and scrape up the salt during harvest time. For every kilo of salt we sell, $1 goes back to the land council to support local initiatives.”
Pink lake from the air
“We’re also privileged to work with Aunty Nancy, an elder who grew up on a mission close to the lake, for all the artwork on our packaging.”
Although currently having to reshape the business in response to COVID-19, Mount Zero is no stranger to adversity, having survived lengthy periods of drought, as well as bushfires.
“In some respects, adversity is a driver of change in business and it’s actually driven a lot of positivity for us. First with diversifying and working with grain and lentil growers in response to the drought, and now with COVID-19 and pivoting from selling to restaurants to consumers directly.”
ANZ has a long history of supporting the agricultural sector in Australia, and customers like Mount Zero align with our values and our focus on environmental sustainability and social and economic participation.
For more information on ANZ’s Environment, Social and Governance performance, visit 2020 ESG Supplement, available on anz.com/annualreport.
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