Securing a sustainable future

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.

Supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

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.

Make crops more efficient

Increase the average productivity of the world’s major crops by 20% without using more land, water or inputs

Syngenta at the forefront of open data in agriculture

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.

What’s next

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.

Progress and key achievements

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

Rescue more farmland

Improve the fertility of 10 million hectares of farmland on the brink of degradation

Demonstrating the benefits of soil conservation

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.

What’s next

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.

Progress and key achievements

Embedded soil protocols in our commercial offers

Consulted multiple stakeholders to inform our program

Engaged decision makers on soil policy, in partnership with UNCCD

Help biodiversity flourish

Enhance biodiversity on
5 million hectares of farmland

A joined-up approach to landscape connectivity

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.

What’s next

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.

Progress and key achievements

Integrated biodiversity conservation in customer loyalty programs

Opened new demonstration plots with universities and local stakeholders

Forged breakthrough implantation partnership in US potato fields

Empower smallholders

Reach 20 million smallholders and enable them to increase productivity by 50%

Reaching more, and measuring our impact

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.

What’s next

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.

Progress and key achievements

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

Help people stay safe

Train 20 million farm workers on labor safety, especially in developing countries

Better training, more lasting impact

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.

What’s next

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.

Progress and key achievements

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

Look after every worker

Strive for fair labor conditions throughout our entire supply chain network

Major endorsement for our Fair Labor Program

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.

What’s next

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.

Progress and key achievements

First agricultural company to receive FLA accreditation

GLOBALG.A.P./GRASP certification for our flower farms

Joined Together for Sustainability initiative