Global Agriculture

Leading Ag CEO Reveals COVID-19 Driven Need for Intensified Focus on Sustainable Agriculture

03 November 2020, Geneva: Economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic requires the commitment of more nations to focus more intently on sustainable agriculture, stated Jim Collins, Corteva Agriscience CEO in the Climate-Positive Agriculture in a Post-COVID Worldsession at the virtual Financial Times Global Food Systems Summit.  “For those of in agriculture, the days of thinking about sustainability as just part of our business are over. Sustainability is our business. We can better serve those who benefit from the global food chain by re-evaluating every aspect of our business through the prism of sustainability.”

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Collins shared the path Corteva Agriscience has set forth to meet its own sustainability goals, defined in the company’s 2030 Sustainability Strategy. The company’s 14 goals, to be achieved over the next 10 years, are built around four key pillars: Goals to benefit farmers; Goals to benefit the land; Goals to benefit communities and Goals for the company’s operations.

Such examples are:

  • The marketing of the N-Lock nitrogen-stabilizer to farmers in Europe, meeting demand for improved water quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fertilization by 40%.
  • Investments in in-demand natural-origin crop protection solutions, or biologicals.
  • The UK partnership with the LEAF environmental agriculture group provides three years of training, technical support and mentoring for farmers striving to become industry leaders in sustainable agriculture.

Corteva Agriscience will also be announcing a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their operations in June 2021.

Collins also shared with the gathering the pandemic underscored the pressing need for greater efficiency in the global food supply system. He noted the dilemma of food waste being created at a time when more people than ever are going hungry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and committed Corteva would work with partners to advocate for science-based policies, enabling farmers to produce enough nutritious food for a growing population.

“In crisis, there is always opportunity. Over the last 10 months, we’ve had very frank discussions on many urgent, sustainable development issues,” said Collins. “Global food security. Extreme weather events. Social unrest. Economic equity. And, of course, the pandemic itself have created platforms for agriculture to address long neglected gaps in the global food chain. The work we do today will allow us to make changes that have long-term, positive impacts to the food chain.”

Collins added, “We all need to collaborate in the design of holistic and sustainable food systems that feed all … while satisfying the changing needs and demands of today’s consumers.”

The World Bank indicates the pandemic’s economic impact could push approximately 100 million people into extreme poverty, adding: “Since COVID struck, more than 1 million people have died from the pandemic. At the same time, more than 7 million people have died from hunger.1

“Corteva’s more than 20,000 employees around the world are committed to reducing the world’s accumulated 1.3 billion metric tons of food waste. “Our teams, customers and partners are committed to ensuring to redirecting that supply to provide more than enough sustenance for 2 billion people.”