We want to lead by example in making our production processes more sustainable.
Bayer’s Product Supply team is responsible for planning, sourcing, manufacturing and delivering seeds and crop protection solutions to farmers around the world. The team, which is comprised of more than 17,000 company employees, plays an important role when it comes to sustainable resource and supply chain management, has a strong influence on the entire organization’s day-to-day operations, and is the driver for adopting more sustainable practices across Bayer.
Product Supply has ambitious sustainability goals, which build on the team’s foundation it has built over decades of increasingly sustainable practices. For instance, in 2019 we exceeded our targets for both water conservation and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. As we look ahead, we are stepping up our efforts in direct support of our company-wide 2030 Sustainability Commitments, and are setting new parameters as we strive to advance a carbon-zero future for agriculture. As a global company, we have the ability to influence how agriculture and supply chains can leverage technologies and work with our grower customers to transform together.
Due to its size and scope, Product Supply is also the department that generates the greatest CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, across Bayer – responsible for the majority of the company’s generated greenhouse gas emissions. Our production processes are resource-intensive, as transforming raw materials into products for agriculture growers requires water, energy, and more. While we continue to develop climate-smart solutions to reduce field greenhouse gas emissions, we remain focused on our responsibility to first look inward at our own operations to be leaders in sustainability. We are already assuming this responsibility by reducing our footprint and implementing programs that decrease the use of resources in our supply chain and production processes.
One way we are meeting our commitment to reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment is by using our resources more sustainably and efficiently. Site teams are working intensely together with global experts on the roadmaps toward 2030 goals, analyzing energy flows, switching to 100 percent renewable electricity, conserving and managing water use, reducing materials and energy consumption in our chemical and seeds processes, and optimizing our logistics network.
To make our production processes more sustainable, we are leveraging digitalization for more precise process control. For example, digital technology helps us use up to 60 percent less water compared to traditional methods of irrigation. In one of our corn growing sites in Argentina, we built an integrated water use control program which provides insights into the water conditions through the use of satellite images. The program generates reports that allow us to see field-by-field soil water conditions and forecasts that help us make real-time decisions. The system today covers 11 sites and 40 seed partner-growers in Argentina totaling 16,000 hectares. Through this program we have saved more than one billion gallons of water versus the conventional methods of irrigation – enough savings to supply 30,000 people locally with fresh water for one year.
Delivery of products is an important part of our supply chain operations, and we use the power of digital technology to improve our logistics networks, as well. We developed an end-to-end Transportation Management System that has already lowered our number of necessary trucks on the road and provided more optimal driving routes to customers. We've saved 28,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions from 2016 to 2018, and believe we can scale these efforts and expect to see significantly higher emission savings over the next few years.
Our growers play an important role in achieving our sustainability goals, too. Our GHG emissions and water use guidelines and goals extend to our contract farmers, and through the introduction of technology and collaborative partnerships we will continue to help them reduce their footprint.
In seeds production, we test and validate best practices for soil conservation and work with growers based on local agricultural requirements – from rice in India to corn in the United States. We collaborate closely with these growers to develop technologies that reduce inputs for their fields. Water usage, for example, depends on crop and region, and we are far ahead in many areas with water spray technology, which has evolved over the years and is now a highly optimized system (nearly 90 percent of the physical optimum).
Finally, by staying engaged in local communities around the world, we continue to progress – from conserving water to reducing waste to educating locals on our positive impacts.
For decades, Bayer has been active in climate protection, and we will continue to prioritize our actions to combat climate change and protect the environment.
The entire Bayer organization is dedicated to the Science Based Targets – an initiative implemented by the United Nations Carbon Transparency Initiative (CDP), European Pack, International Center of Wealth (WRI) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). More than 700 businesses including Bayer have pledged to take meaningful climate action to set emission reduction targets in order to keep global temperature increase below 2°C.
The Product Supply division is equally committed to meeting these targets, being fully transparent and using approved protocols for reporting our impacts as part of the Bayer Sustainability Report. Positive impacts in sustainability begin with us, and we look forward to continuing to share our progress.