As agriculture and farmers around the world work to mitigate and adapt to the complex challenges posed by climate change, the biotechnology company Monsanto today announced plans to make its operations carbon neutral by 2021 through a programme targeted across its seed and crop protection operations, as well as through collaboration with farmers.
“Climate change is one of the biggest issues we face in agriculture, as well as one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity,” said Hugh Grant, Monsanto chairman and chief executive officer. “That’s why we have pledged to do our part within our own business and to help support farmers and others. While progress has been made to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint, we must work collectively to do even more if we are going to sustainably feed 9.6 billion people by 2050. Agriculture is uniquely positioned to deliver climate change solutions, and we hope that policy makers recognise the role of agriculture, farmers and crops can play in mitigating carbon emissions.”
Monsanto will drive carbon neutral crop production in its own seed production operations by leveraging diverse products and agronomic approaches, such as breeding, plant biotechnology, data science, conservation tillage and cover cropping systems, with the goal of eliminating that portion of its carbon footprint altogether. Working with outside experts in data science on extensive modeling, Monsanto has shown that utilising these practices and innovations can make an important difference, allowing corn and soybeans to be grown such that soil absorbs and holds greenhouse gases equal to or greater than the total amount emitted from growing those crops – reinforcing agriculture’s unique role in climate change mitigation.
The company will also work with farmers to promote and drive the increased adoption of these carbon neutral crop production methods.
The company is targeting its crop protection business to be carbon neutral by 2021. Previously, Monsanto announced a goal to reduce the operational greenhouse gas emissions intensity in its crop protection operations and has continued to make steady progress against its commitment. To offset the remainder of its crop protection and other non-seed production operations, Monsanto is working to develop a programme to provide incentives to farmer customers who adopt carbon neutral crop production methods – in exchange for part of their carbon reduction value. Monsanto will use those reductions as offsets to neutralise its remaining carbon footprint.