Syngenta has announced that it will devote $ 2 billion over the next five years to help agricultural producers prepare for the growing threats arising from climate change.
The investment involves a new sustainability objective for the company: to develop and introduce two technological innovations per year in the sector in order to mitigate the impact of agriculture on climate change and help the food industry remain within the planetary sustainability limits.
Erik Fyrwald, the company's CEO, also announced that the investment in research and the development of sustainable agriculture programs will be complemented by an initiative to reduce carbon emissions in the company's operations by at least 50% by 2030. The aim with this is to meet the ambitious goals set by the Paris Agreement on climate change. The commitment has been ratified and endorsed by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
"Agriculture is now at the forefront when it comes to global initiatives aimed at addressing climate change," says Fyrwald. "Syngenta is committed to boosting its innovation processes in order to find better and increasingly secure solutions to address the shared challenge of climate change and biodiversity loss."
"These are not just words, but actual measures. Syngenta will be focusing on helping agricultural producers address climate change and reduce the sector's contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions."
The 2 billion dollars will go into innovative technology programs that will allow a gradual change in the sustainability of agriculture, with proper land use, soil health and integrated pest control.
In the framework of its long-standing collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, the company is developing strategies to identify and evaluate innovations and technologies that can be useful to producers and help achieve positive results for the environment. The collaboration is based on initiatives to promote soil health, resource efficiency and the protection of habitat and biodiversity in the main agricultural regions of the world.
Sally Jewell, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, said that "achieving this will require bold initiatives from the private sector. Companies increasingly acknowledge the risks of climate change and the benefits of sustainability. We are glad to have the opportunity to contribute with our science and experience in helping transform business practices. Syngenta's investment in innovation is an important step forward for the development of nature and people."
Cynthia Cummis, director of Private Sector Climate Mitigation at the World Resources Institute, one of the partners of the Science-based Objectives Initiative, said that "we congratulate Syngenta for reducing its emission targets, which have been validated by the Science-Based Objectives Initiative. Leadership in agro-business is vital in the fight against climate change, and in setting out these objectives, the company has taken the path of growth with the guarantee of also having a future."
The proposed objectives are part of the "Accelerate innovation" commitment that Syngenta made earlier this year to address the challenges producers face due to climate change, like soil erosion and biodiversity loss. There will be yearly reports on the progress made towards the achievement of these objectives, which will be independently audited. The announcement followed the completion of 150 listening sessions carried out worldwide to help company leaders identify priority investment areas.
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