Farmers large and small face increasing problems caused by the changes in our environment – the climate emergency, severe soil erosion and increasing biodiversity loss. Beyond this, they must also manage changing consumer expectations and views on agricultural technology.
As part of our Good Growth Plan, we are accelerating our innovation to provide solutions to help farmers overcome these challenges, from extreme weather events to society’s changing dietary tastes, all the while benefiting our environment.
In practical terms, we have set 3 targets:
- Invest $2 billion in sustainable agriculture breakthroughs
- 2 new sustainable technology breakthroughs per year
- Strive for the lowest residues in crops and the environment
We will measure our progress against these targets. Each year, the outcomes will be published in our Sustainable Business Report.
Investing to discover breakthrough technologies
Our investment will be where it matters most to farmers and nature. We have committed to spend $2 billion over 5 years from 2020 to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable and responsible way. Only investments that contribute to breakthrough outcomes will count towards our target of $2 billion. They must provide breakthrough technologies or have clear benefits, such as using fewer pesticides, less water or avoiding clearing land for farming.
Our investments are decided through the Sustainability Investment Criteria which is a five-step assessment process.
Achieving breakthroughs every year
When we talk about sustainable technology breakthroughs, we mean innovations that are designed to reduce agriculture’s contribution to climate change, mitigate its effect on the food supply and provide farmers with the tools they need to manage their land sustainably.
Our innovations will benefit farmers everywhere: the world’s 8 million large-scale farmers and the 450 million smallholders who provide much of our food.
Striving to meet consumers’ expectations
We stand by the safety of our highly regulated products and the role they play in protecting food quality and safety. Nonetheless, we have listened to society and will work with partners to further reduce residues in crops without impacting farmer productivity, while continuing to improve soil health and prevent soil erosion.
One example of how we go about this is our Fruit Quality Contract in Europe, the US and Latin America. This empowers farmers to continually manage and reduce residues to meet ever-changing value chain demands. For more than 10 years, we have been developing individual agronomic protocols for farmers and providing them with digital tools, allowing them to reduce their use of crop protection products and to apply them as efficiently as possible.