“Wherever pesticides are used, empty containers are generated...It’s an ongoing problem; one that poses a serious threat to the environment and public health.”
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Safety is paramount in any industry, and agriculture is no different. The protection of input manufacturers, growers and workers on the farm, value chain partners, as well as consumers is absolutely essential, as is the preservation of the environment. In agriculture, we refer to the responsible and ethical management of a product throughout its lifecycle—from the research, development and testing of products, to their production and delivery to growers, to their application and disposal —as Product Stewardship.
Proper Product Stewardship practices are central to ensuring the availability of high-quality products, services and best practices by promoting compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, helping facilitate trade, maximizing product potential and sustainability, and minimizing risks to people and the environment.
The main environmental and human safety concerns related to crop protection containers include:
Our product responsibility efforts span the value chain—from the research, development and testing of products, to their production and delivery to growers, to their application and disposal.
When working with growers and the value chain, our Product Responsibility efforts focus on trainings on the safe use of pesticides for operators, consumers and the environment – in line with the International Code of Conduct for Pesticide Management (WHO, FAO, 2014). To do so, we leverage new technologies and services of handling, applying and disposing of crop protection products; and also promote responsible empty container management systems, especially in countries with less regulated waste management systems.
To live up to our commitment to promote the safe use of crop protection products and tools, we are:
As a key focus of our sustainability strategy, we will be enhancing our efforts in promoting product responsibility in all the regions we serve. In the past few years, we’ve already moved from an ad hoc approach to delivering safe use trainings towards a more targeted and coordinated approach that increases overall outreach.
In 2019, we confirmed over 1 million farmers trained in face-to-face trainings and in 2020, reached more than 1 million farmers with digital trainings when in-person trainings were not available due to health reasons. And this number only includes formally confirmed trainings, the reach to additional farmers is expected to be much larger. We’re continuing efforts to safely hold as many in-person trainings as possible but are particularly ramping up our investment in virtual and digital training to increase our reach, while ensuring the quality of training. This was especially important during challenging times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, when food security and safety are even more critical to the health of our society, and in-person trainings were more difficult to hold due to social distancing measures. Moreover, the ripple effect of trainings and virtual trainings has continual potential to have exponential reach.
Going forward we’ll continue to transparently report annually our progress on trainings and other initiatives that ensure the customers we serve have the necessary information to use our products safely and sustainably.
Located in Rommerskirchen, Germany, Bernd Olligs is the sixth generation of his family to own and operate the Damianshof farm, and he takes safe and sustainable use of crop protection seriously. “Water pollution control is resource protection,” states Bernd Olligs, and one of his top priorities is to systematically manage water protection on his farm to ensure absolutely no crop protection residues enter the water. To ensure that these residues do not enter the water system when meticulously cleaning his spraying equipment, Bernd uses an innovative biological system called Phytobac®. Installed on his farm in 2012, it collects water used to clean sprayers and makes use of microorganisms to biologically break down any residues found in the water.
At Damianshof, like on all Bayer ForwardFarms, using crop protection products responsibly doesn’t just apply to use in the fields. In order to guarantee the comprehensive protection of the farmer, as a user, and of the general public, as consumers, Bernd only uses seeds and crop protection products that have undergone comprehensive safety testing and registration. Further innovative solutions such as the closed filling system easyFlow® M protects the farmer from direct contact with crop protection products. The system facilitates the safe filling and dosing of crop protection products into the application tank as well as in the cleaning of empty canisters. It prevents drips or splashes, which is good both for the farmer and the environment.