Last year represented a true milestone for raising awareness and advancing the broader global dialogue about the tremendous challenges our growing world faces between now and 2050.
Over the next four decades, the world will need to double food production to combat hunger, malnutrition and meet the needs of our fast-growing population. The recent arrival of the world’s seven billionth person shed further light on this global conversation. Looking ahead, Monsanto’s challenge—a challenge shared by many companies, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—must be to translate the discussion around these challenges into action.
One thing is clear—no single company or organization can meet these challenges alone. Collaboration among stakeholders in the public and private sectors, across virtually every sector of the value chain is vitally important. As a business, we remain committed to actively participating in stakeholder dialogue and supporting initiatives that are focused on increasing agricultural productivity, managing and reducing the environmental impact of agriculture, and improving the economic success of farmers and their families in all parts of the world.
In 2011, we made great progress to our goals around sustainability, engaging with many stakeholders and working in partnership with organizations around the world. I’m pleased to present you with Monsanto’s 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report which outlines recent work in this area. We’ve worked to summarize both the challenges and progress made in areas critical to our business and the communities we serve. While I’m very proud of all of the projects we highlight in this report, there are two key initiatives that truly stand out for the impact they have on making agriculture more sustainable: Field to Market: The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and World Economic Forum’s “New Vision for Agriculture.” I look forward to your feedback on the partnerships in which we’re involved and the progress we’re making.
You, our external stakeholders, continue to serve as our guide for continuous improvement in corporate social responsibility and sustainability. We recognize that this begins in our own operations. That is why this year we have joined the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a sustainability reporting framework that helps companies measure and report their sustainability performance. This type of reporting will be a continuous and transparent journey of improvement for our business. I look forward to updating you on our progress in future reports.
Part of our continuous journey is also exemplified through our commitment to the UN Global Compact and the 10 principles relating to the areas of human rights, labor practices, environmental protection and combating corruption. Since joining the UN Global Compact in 2009, we have provided an annual Communication on Progress and this year’s report includes our second installment of our actions supporting the Global Compact. It also includes a special update on our Human Rights activities.
Our business remains committed to investing in agricultural systems that can sustainably support the demands of our growing planet—whether that is on-farm or at home. Looking forward, we are exploring opportunities to support continuous improvement in crop yields through our efforts in breeding, agronomics and biotechnology. We are also exploring better health and nutrition through our vegetable business. We are well-positioned to strengthen our partnerships with farmers as a solutions provider offering more efficient and sustainable farming practices. I am proud to be a part of the work Monsanto does around the world to help produce more, conserve more and improve lives.
I encourage you to read this report, and welcome your feedback, while you learn more about how our business and our employees throughout the world are working daily to meet our commitments to sustainable agriculture.
Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer