Kicking off a new Sustainable Product Expo this week, the CEOs from more than a dozen global companies gathered at Walmart headquarters in Arkansas Tuesday to pledge to increase sustainable food production.
Eight of the largest food companies announced pledges to help ensure that tomorrow’s food supply is affordable and sustainable for the nine billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050. The commitments aim to drive more collaboration and efficiency across the current food system. In total, this work is expected to bring eight million acres of farmland into sustainable agriculture programs and eliminate six million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
Among the agricultural companies participating in the event Tuesday was Dairy Farmers of America and DFA CEO Rick Smith offered his pledge to “have more than 90 percent of our nearly 9,000 member farms participating in our Gold Standard Dairy program, or similar efforts toward optimization, by 2020.” This on-farm audit assesses areas including animal care and wellness, environmental stewardship, employee training, and milk safety and quality.
Monsanto chairman and CEO Hugh Grant announced two commitments at the event to help address challenges in the areas of water and nutrient efficiency. First, the company will work to increase water-use efficiency in irrigation across its own global seed production operations by 25 percent by 2020. Grant also pledged 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.”
Grant held a telephone press conference following Tuesday’s event together with Illinois farmer and former National Corn Growers Association president Leon Corzine. Monsanto Sustainability Commitments