The Good Growth Plan is our commitment to help farmers meet the challenge of feeding a fast-growing world population sustainably. That’s central to our strategy for ensuring that our own business has a sustainable long-term future. We’re consciously setting our sights higher – and measuring and reporting the impact.
Two years into The Good Growth Plan, more than 3,600 farmers and many organizations are working with us to demonstrate and measure what is possible for 21 crops, the environment and the people in 42 countries. We are gathering increasingly reliable data, independently collected and validated, and publishing it in accordance with best practice – using open data formats to be as transparent, accountable and useful as possible.
We welcome these goals, and believe they will help to mobilize the action and innovation needed to make a better and more sustainable world. With The Good Growth Plan, we believe Syngenta has already begun to make its contribution.
Increase the average productivity of the world’s major crops by 20% without using more land, water or inputs
To test and measure what’s possible, we have created a network of reference farms across crops and regions in our key markets. In 2015, the network covered more than 1,000 reference farms and just under 2,600 benchmark farms. We are now gathering an abundance of real-world farm data for 21 crops in 42 countries. To increase the speed of innovation and knowledge transfer, we’ve been collaborating with the Open Data Institute (ODI) and have published our aggregated baseline and progress data for anyone to access online and use free of charge.
We’re working to improve the way we share The Good Growth Plan data with growers, empowering them to make positive changes by highlighting best practices linked to efficiency results. While continuing our collaboration with the ODI, we look forward to supporting GODAN (Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition) with the harmonization of agricultural data exchange standards that are accessible to all. And we’re aiming to build a community around our data by developing tools and platforms that make it easier to use.
|No. of Reference farms||1,062||860|
|No. of Benchmark farms||2,586||2,738|
Improved statistical precision by increasing the number of reference farms
Shared results with farmers, researchers and those seeking to understand how best to save scarce resources
Collaborating to harmonize data exchange standards to accelerate innovation in agriculture
Producing high-quality pasta begins with growing top-quality durum wheat, which has consistently high protein content. In Italy, we are helping growers produce more, top-quality durum wheat through the value chain project “Grano Armando”, guaranteeing them a higher, more reliable income.
More than 1,000 growers benefit from a sustainable cultivation protocol, quality seeds and farmer support. The growers also join a network that connects them with pasta manufacturers in Italy.
Yields are 15% higher than average, and the protein content of the wheat is 14%, as opposed to the Italian average of 12%.
Improve the fertility of 10 million hectares of farmland on the brink of degradation
We continue to build our best soil knowledge and tools – diagnostics, management practices and technologies – into our commercial offers. But achieving the desired benefits of soil conservation depends on many other tools and services at farm level. That’s why we support the creation of inclusive platforms where multiple stakeholders – including those representing machinery, financial solutions and educational opportunities – join forces to offer farmers a compelling soil conservation proposition. We have piloted this approach for smallholders in Mexico, medium-sized growers in Hungary and large-scale farmers in Russia.
In the coming year, we will continue working with our commercial teams on building good practices into our offer, supporting demonstration projects on the ground and building multi-stakeholder networks that promote integrated offers. In addition to this ‘push’ activity, we are also encouraging ‘pull’ from the value chain – raising awareness of good soil practices among food processors and retailers while promoting the benefits of marketing these practices to consumers, to stimulate demand for more sustainably grown produce.
Embedded soil protocols in our commercial offers
Consulted multiple stakeholders to inform our program
Engaged decision makers on soil policy, in partnership with UNCCD
Fertile soil is the foundation of sustainable agriculture. But poor farming practices and extreme weather lead to erosion and infertility. In Eastern Russia, we are helping farmers switch from traditional plowing to new techniques that preserve soil and increase growers’ yields.
Working with local universities, we educate farmers in minimum tillage, which avoids churning up the earth. Soil retains moisture and porosity, as the passages made by root systems, worms and insects are undisturbed.
Minimum tillage, along with crop rotation, is leading to cost-effective, high-quality production. In 2015, we held four events connecting 245 farmers with scientists and Syngenta employees. So far, the project involves seven farms covering 464,000 hectares.
Enhance biodiversity on
5 million hectares of farmland
Syngenta has a long history of biodiversity enhancement projects: our Ecoaguas project has been restoring and managing riparian forests in Colombia for two decades. In Germany, our customer loyalty scheme rewards farmers with seeds and support for planting field margins. However, achieving desired results on the ground is a slow and resource-intensive process. Growers have to be convinced to invest in marginal and less productive land for biodiversity, and they need support in implementing the necessary management protocols.
We continue to work with external stakeholders – academics, policymakers and conservation experts – to build on experience from the demonstration sites. To achieve the expected long-term economic benefits of biodiversity conservation, we are also working to link growers to consumers. We are encouraging retailers and food processors to set biodiversity enhancement standards for their suppliers, enabling them to promote sustainable food production and consumption to consumers. Another key goal is to incorporate the concept of multifunctional habitats into our commercial offer, and make investment in field margin habitats simpler and cheaper for farmers.
Integrated biodiversity conservation in customer loyalty programs
Opened new demonstration plots with universities and local stakeholders
Forged breakthrough implantation partnership in US potato fields
R.D. Offutt, the largest potato grower in the USA, planted non-productive corners of its potato fields in Minnesota with regional wildflower seeds to create environmentally diverse habitats and increase the number of pollinators. The habitats provide forage for honeybees, monarch butterflies and other pollinating insects, as well as reducing soil erosion and protecting water resources.
Syngenta advised on how to prepare the sites and which plants to use. In 2015, more than 240 hectares were planted – a good size of project when even small areas of less than half a hectare can make a difference.
Reach 20 million smallholders and enable them to increase productivity by 50%
Our contact with smallholders comes primarily through our sales teams. In emerging and less developed economies, millions of growers are so small-scale and dispersed that it is not easy to know where they are, what they grow or how to contact them. Our sales management information system helps us reach them more effectively by integrating information that identifies smallholders and tracks our interactions with them. To better understand smallholders’ needs, we are working with development agencies and other partners. To measure the benefits we are bringing to local communities, we are using social impact assessments of our smallholder go-to-market strategies.
We’ll continue to extend our smallholder reach with the help of our growing body of partners. We’ll also be extending the social impact assessment program into other countries, and sharing what we learn to show transparently where we are active and what difference we are making.
Carried out Social Impact Assessments in China, India and Mexico
Collaborated with University of Zürich to develop a sustainability embeddedness model
Established new partnerships aimed at empowering smallholders
Encouraging progressive smallholders to share expertise with others makes a tangible difference by increasing yields and incomes.
In East Java, Indonesia, successful rice growers are educating other farmers in good agricultural practices and the implementation of our GROMORE™ solution. Rice growers who raise yields to 10 tonnes per hectare are invited to join the Rice Ten Tonne Club. Supported by Syngenta agronomists and government farming counselors, these lead farmers then pass on their knowledge to groups of smallholders.
So far, more than 15,000 smallholders are benefiting from modern methods of growing rice.
Train 20 million farm workers on labor safety, especially in developing countries
Our training programs raise awareness of hazards, principally those related to crop protection products, and show how to manage and prevent them. More than 90% of our training is delivered by our own sales and stewardship teams. To extend our reach, we also work with both commercial and academic partners. Safe use training has for many years been an integral part of the way we do business worldwide, but our approach has varied from country to country. As part of The Good Growth Plan commitment we have harmonized our approach, developing guidelines and tools that enable our people to plan and implement training consistently.
In the year ahead we will be rolling out new training programs based on our revised guidelines and incorporating the learning from our Farmer Safety Workshop. We are also adopting new approaches and partnerships to extend our training footprint – particularly in Africa and other areas where we need to supplement our own internal resources in order to reach the number of people we have committed to train.
Rolled out new guidelines for safe and responsible use training
Redesigned train-the-trainer program and launched new online tool
Engaged with stakeholders at global Farmer Safety Workshop
As we work with farmers in Mexico to increase productivity in a sustainable way, we ensure they are also trained in safe use of crop protection products.
We have joined with government and partners from industry in the MasAgro program – The Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture, overseen by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center or CIMMYT. The aim is to target smallholders who lack access to agricultural technologies and markets to help them raise productivity of corn and wheat, increasing incomes.
To ensure as many people as possible are trained, Syngenta experts educate CIMMYT technicians who then train farmers. In 2015, the program reached 2,600 smallholders.
Strive for fair labor conditions throughout our entire supply chain network
In 2015, we became the first agriculture company to receive FLA accreditation, for our program in India. This major endorsement confirms that we have effective systems and procedures across all our production and supply operations to communicate our standards, assess compliance, train staff to assess and resolve non-compliance, and give workers confidential reporting channels. On our chemicals supply side, we joined the Together for Sustainability initiative. This brings together international chemical companies to share joint supplier audits on health, safety, environmental, social and ethical issues.
In 2016, we will continue to roll out our Fair Labor Program for seeds suppliers, completing coverage of Latin America and Asia Pacific. We will also begin reporting compliance levels for all countries in the program – an important step for transparency. While we have come a long way in improving labor conditions in the supply chain, we recognize that there is still more to be done. The Good Growth Plan measures will enable better informed discussion of the challenges we face and the progress we are making.
First agricultural company to receive FLA accreditation
GLOBALG.A.P./GRASP certification for our flower farms
Joined Together for Sustainability initiative
In Argentina, millions of people work in agriculture. Fair labor on farms is an issue of great importance. In 2011, an audit of our fair labor compliance in Argentina carried out in partnership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) showed key areas for improvement.
A subsequent supply chain review led to an ambitious program to enhance labor and safety practices for field workers on our seed supply farms. This included improving workers’ access to training, focusing on health and safety risk identification and reporting. In 2015, our Argentine supply chain achieved 99.5% compliance with the FLA Code of Conduct.