Position on Deforestation and Forest Degradation
Forests play a vital role in mitigating climate change, fostering biodiversity, and enabling water and soil conservation. Millions of people rely on forests for food security, livelihoods and energy sources. While the rate of forest loss and degradation has slowed globally since 2000, they still contribute to challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss. Deforestation and forest degradation are complex with multiple causes that differ from region to region, but agriculture has historically been among the major drivers. Overall, deforestation is driven by the need to provide food, feed, energy, timber and housing for a global population steadily growing in numbers and wealth. To meet this growing demand without increasing the pressure for deforestation, yield gaps need to be closed around the globe through the adoption of modern agriculture and forestry technologies and practices. Fulfilling the demand in one region should not occur at the cost of deforestation in another region.
Within our area of influence, including working with our farmer customers and within our supply chain, we seek to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. We want to make a significant contribution not only to protecting existing forests, but also helping to restore lost forest land. We do not have all the solutions to challenges as big as deforestation. However, we continuously expand our collaborations with relevant local and regional organizations that complement our technologies with their knowledge and networks. We also participate in coalitions across the value chain with the objective to achieve net zero deforestation.
- Agriculture innovations can help reduce the need to expand crop production areas into natural habitats such as woodlands and forests. Innovation in seed varieties, crop protection products and digital farming solutions combined with stewardship measures and training on responsible use enable farmers and forest farmers to achieve higher yielding crops and forest plantations on existing land. These innovations can do this with lower inputs of land, water, energy or crop protection resources consistent with Bayer’s commitments to reduce by 30% the environmental impact of crop protection and greenhouse gas emissions on our customers’ fields, by 2030.
- Bayer has committed to help 100 million smallholder farmers increase their livelihood in farming. We believe that the increase in productivity will decrease the need to convert forest into agricultural land or to find additional income in forest exploitation.
- Bayer is currently implementing programs for vegetation management and afforestation. Implementing native species afforestation programs and including the use of herbicides to control invasive grass species has been found to provide a 3 times greater above ground biomass and improved species richness compared to less intensive, spontaneous regeneration methods (Brancalion et al, 2019) thanks to well selected native seedlings and modern agronomic technology.
- Through digital farming technologies, Bayer is looking into ways of supporting and incentivizing farmers to protect existing forests and natural habitats on their land by helping them to better evaluate the benefits of preserving habitats and forests versus farming marginal or less-productive land.
- Bayer aims for net-zero deforestation in our supply chain by 2021 – and will encourage our licensees to do the same. As the most prominent example, we will ensure 100% compliance with the Brazilian Forest Code in our production fields. We are committed to using Bayer's expertise and technologies to support Brazil's goal of restoring 12 million hectares of native forest by 2030.
- Bayer is committed to become carbon neutral in its own operations by 2030. To accomplish this, we will offset part of our emissions through investments in reforestation projects.
- Bayer shares the value of international cooperation to promote viable measures in sustainable development and environmental protection. This is why we support forest protection instruments in trade agreements as long as they are science-based, equitable and safeguard an open and non-discriminatory trading system.
Sustainability is core to how we do business at Bayer. We apply the same rigor to setting and measuring our sustainability targets as we do our financial ones. As a science and innovation company, we understand that any commitment to innovation must be linked to sustainability.
Driven by our vision of health for all, hunger for none, we believe we can work together to address the interrelated challenges of preserving biodiversity, ensuring food production and addressing climate change.