Monsanto explains new sustainability commitment
As part of its broad commitment to sustainability, Monsanto announced two important companywide commitments to help address critical challenges—one in the areas of water-use efficiency and the other in nutrient efficiency.
“Agriculture is at the intersection of many major challenges today – whether it’s growing population and food demand, water availability, soil health or climate change,” said Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer at Monsanto. “Addressing these challenges directly is what all of us at Monsanto are focused on every day—working together with farmers and partners around the world to deliver a safe, affordable and nutritious food supply that sustains our planet.”
Irrigated Water-Use Efficiency Goal
First, the company will work to increase water-use efficiency in irrigation across its own global seed production operations by 25 percent by 2020. While overall water use will always vary due to the weather, Monsanto estimates that these conservation efforts alone will result in saving between 30 billion and 80 billion gallons of water annually, the equivalent of filling 45,000 to 110,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Monsanto’s water-use efficiency commitment includes both Monsanto’s owned and leased operations as well as the contract farms that grow seeds for the company’s products. As part of the commitment, Monsanto plans to provide annual public updates on its progress toward the 25 percent goal in its sustainability updates and reports.
To reach the goal, Monsanto will expand implementation of drip irrigation systems, which enable water-use efficiency of up to 95 percent, compared with other systems that range from 50 to 65 percent efficiency. The company already has deployed these systems at facilities in water-stressed areas like India, Hawaii and Mexico.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to increase efficiency with modern irrigation technology and precision farming best practices,” said Bob Reiter, vice president of global supply chain at Monsanto. “We have been working to test and promote implementation of water-efficient technologies for years, and these efforts will be accelerated with our new irrigated water-use efficiency commitment.”
Nutrient Efficiency Pledge
Soil and nutrients is another critical area, and Grant pledged at Walmart’s Sustainable Products Expo this week that the company will continue to innovate and advance smarter seeds and precision management tools that enable farmers to use nutrients more efficiently and curb greenhouse gas emissions on one million acres in the United States by 2020.