Bayer is raising the bar in transparency, sustainability and engagement, reflecting its heightened responsibility and potential as a new leader in agriculture.
“We’re making good progress on integrating the acquired agriculture business and are now starting to implement a series of measures to drive transparency and sustainability across our business,” Werner Baumann, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG said on Friday.
These measures address questions and concerns Bayer has heard about its role in agriculture in the year following its acquisition of Monsanto. “We will continue to advance our standard, driven by our commitment to a better life for this generation and generations to come.”
Innovation will cut the ecological footprint of Bayer’s agricultural portfolio.
With its solutions, the company will reduce the environmental impact by 30 percent by 2030. Bayer aims to achieve this by developing new technologies, scaling down crop protection volumes, and enabling more precise application. This will help to restore and retain biodiversity, combat climate change, and make the most efficient use of natural resources.
The company will measure the progress by comparing the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) against the current market standards. The EIQ was established in the 1990’s by the Cornell University (U.S.) and relates volume to toxicity and therefore represents a more meaningful measure system than volume only.
Bayer will seek to continuously improve the EIQ of its crop solutions by investing in world-class innovation for seeds and traits, digital farming, biological solutions and new low-residue and reduced rate application products. Furthermore, the company will invite global experts and stakeholders to participate in a Bayer Sustainability Council to bolster the company-wide efforts.
While glyphosate will continue to play an important role in agriculture and in Bayer’s portfolio, the company is committed to offering more choices for growers and will invest approximately 5 billion euros in additional methods for combat weeds over the next decade. This R&D investment will go towards improving the understanding of resistance mechanisms, discovering and developing new modes of actions, further developing tailored Integrated Weed Management solutions and developing more precise recommendations through digital farming tools. In addition, partnerships with weed scientists around the world will be enhanced to help develop customized solutions for farmers at the local level.
Transparency is Bayer’s foundation. In 2017, Bayer began releasing all of its safety-related Crop Science studies online for anyone to see. Since then, it has released hundreds of studies for nearly 30 compounds, including all 107 company-owned glyphosate studies. Going forward, the company will pilot a program inviting scientists, journalists and NGO representatives to participate through its scientific preparation for the upcoming EU glyphosate re-registration process, which will start later this year.
On top of that, the company will apply consistent safety standards to its products—even when it means exceeding local regulations. Since 2012, Bayer has stopped selling all products that were considered acute toxicity class 1 by the World Health Organization, regardless of whether they were allowed in a particular market. Bayer announced on Friday that it will only sell crop protection products in markets that meet both the safety standards of that local market and the safety standards of a majority of countries with well-developed programs to regulate crop protection products.
In the coming months, the company will evolve its engagement policies that ground all of its interactions with scientists, journalists, regulators and the political sphere in transparency, integrity and respect