We talked to Klaus Kunz, Head of Sustainability and Business Stewardship at Bayer, about the company’s sustainability strategy, the importance of collaboration – and how Food Chain Partnership is the ideal platform to promote sustainable practices along the entire value chain.
In your own words, how would you define sustainable agriculture?
Klaus Kunz: “It’s true that a lot of people use the word ‘sustainability’ – and it’s not clear what it really means in that context. For me, sustainability means unifying what farmers need with what society requires and expects. Bringing society and farmers back together on the same track, this is where we have to make a big contribution.”
What is Bayer’s sustainability strategy?
Klaus Kunz: “At Bayer, we focus very much on sustainable agriculture, because this is where we can have a direct impact on what is happening. What we want to do is provide access to our products to smallholder farmers – to more than 100 million smallholders by 2030 – and help them have market access. At the same time, we want to reduce environmental footprints – both those of our products and of farming in general. For example, we want to help farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce pesticides on their fields, while at the same time increasing yields and profitability. That’s our ambition.”
What role do partnerships play in all that?
Klaus Kunz: “For me, partnering is essential. We’re only one player in the game and we shouldn’t tell farmers what to do and what not to do. We need to be a part of the whole process – together with farmers, retailers, processors, and consumers – and our ideas of sustainability must fit into that process.”
Working together for sustainable agriculture is what Food Chain Partnership is all about. What are the benefits of this business model?
Klaus Kunz: “The biggest benefit, in my opinion, is that we as Bayer have the opportunity to participate along the entire value chain and bring our solutions to everyone involved. At the same time, we learn a lot from our partners. It’s not only the crop protection industry, it’s indeed the whole value chain that has to drive sustainability.”
Why should value chain stakeholders join Food Chain Partnership?
Klaus Kunz: “What we can provide is one of the biggest technology toolboxes in the world as well as a deep understanding of training in good agricultural practices, including operator and food safety. Another big advantage is our willingness and commitment to help farmers achieve their goals.”
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