Monsanto is making progress on a goal to improve irrigation water efficiency with the potential to save up to 80 billion gallons of water each year. That’s the latest findings in the company’s 2017 Sustainability Report, Growing Better Together.
Monsanto set a target of improving irrigation water efficiency of global seed production by 25 percent by 2020 and is more than half way to that goal. This represents just one of many advancements the company made on its environmental and social commitments in fiscal year 2017 (September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017).
“The agriculture industry faces one of the most significant challenges in its history. We need to produce 50 percent more food globally to feed an additional 2.5 billion people by 2050 on about the same amount of land being farmed today,” said Pam Strifler, Monsanto’s Vice President for Global Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement. “At Monsanto, sustainability is embedded in our values, and we are committed to advancing modern agriculture, which helps make farming more sustainable by providing innovations such as digital tools to grow food, fuel, and fiber using fewer natural resources.”
The 2017 Sustainability Report is organized along the company’s Growing Better Together Sustainability Framework: Better Planet, Better Lives, Better Partner. Monsanto reports that it achieved the following:
- Through innovation and collaboration, Monsanto delivered three years ahead of schedule on helping farmers use nutrients more efficiently and curb greenhouse gas emissions on 1 million acres. This was done in partnership with GROWMARK System, a leading agricultural supply cooperative.
- Offset its carbon footprint by more than 200,000 metric tons – marking progress toward achieving a carbon neutral footprint by 2021 through operational improvements, new products, and working with farmers to advance and adopt climate smart practices.
- Received the Wildlife Habitat Council’s Corporate Conservation Leadership Award for demonstrating “an exemplary level of corporate commitment to biodiversity and conservation education, and meaningful alignments with global conservation objectives.”
- Invested $5 million annually in honey bee health research since 2013.
- Benefited 200,000 people by investing $3.5 million in clean water, sanitation, and hygiene projects both at its facilities and in surrounding communities since 2014 as part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development WASH Pledge.
- Reached more than 18.4 million people with Off-the-Job safety messages through more than 3,000 in-person events and social media efforts.
The company also published progress against a suite of other goals for the first time, including:
- Establish sustainability and community engagement plans at 100 percent of breeding and production sites by 2018. The company has established such plans at 86 percent of these sites.
- Trained 1,750 company leaders in unconscious bias in 2017, bringing the total to 4,800 to meet the target of 5,000 by 2018.
- Enhanced the Supplier Code of Conduct to further focus on human rights and supplier diversity and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The company engaged 62,000 suppliers in pursuit of 100 percent implementation.
Each year, the company publishes a sustainability report that fulfills its commitment to document progress against the 10 Principles of the United Nations Global Compact and demonstrates its alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.