Monsanto achieved 89 percent of its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from crop protection operations by 22 percent (per pound of active ingredient) by 2020, according to its 2016 sustainability report.
The agribusiness giant has set a goal to achieve a carbon neutral operational footprint by 2021. It says reducing the GHG intensity of its crop protection business is a key piece of its multi-pronged approach to reaching this goal. Other pieces include investing in less energy-intensive technologies, setting an internal carbon price, and collaborating with farmers on carbon-neutral crop production.
In 2016 Monsanto established the Carbon-Neutral Collaborative to help develop a scalable and verifiable carbon accounting framework for the agriculture industry and co-founded the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative to help farmers improve their bottom line while conserving natural resources through sustainable agriculture practices.
Also last year the company commissioned and publicly shared a third-party study showing that widespread adoption of recommended climate smart agricultural practices could potentially absorb more carbon than 2.5 billion tree seedlings grown for 10 years, in the US alone.
In addition to shrinking their carbon footprint, Monsanto’s global sites reduced their water use in 2016, attaining 47 percent of its goal to increase irrigation water application efficiency across its global seed production operation by 25 percent by 2020, compared to a 2010 baseline. It accomplished this through initiatives to increase irrigation water application efficiency and move certain research activities from the field into greenhouses, which enables Monsanto to capture and reuse the water used in irrigating research crops.
Monsanto is also a member of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate and sat on the Mandate’s 2015-16 Steering Committee.
The 2016 sustainability report also outlines how Monsanto’s work contributes to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The company says it reviewed the 17 SDGs and associated 169 targets and identified nine SDGs where it can have the most impact. Three address social and economic topics like poverty, hunger and social opportunity; three focus on environmental issues including climate, water and biodiversity; and three provide frameworks for attaining the other six.