We live in dynamic times. Rising affluence, increasing urbanization and the needs of our growing planet are putting pressures on our environment and our ability to support these demands sustainably. The topic of sustainability has taken center stage around the world and has driven the attention and focus of a growing number of powerful voices and interests around the world. We recognize that we have a place in these discussions and a commitment to be a leading corporate citizen.
But a quiet, unwavering figure has remained for generations at the center of solutions to some of our world’s most pressing needs; the farmer. And I’m convinced supporting their ability to produce and conserve more—regardless of size and location—will help bring much needed solutions to some of our largest challenges for the future as well. As a company focused on agriculture and farmers, I am proud of the opportunity we have to offer farmers tools and services that promote a safe, healthy, affordable food supply for all of us. Sustainability is central to global agriculture and its success both today and in the future.
The sustainability of agriculture is also central to our three-point vision—produce more, conserve more and improve lives. But it isn’t just a vision. It’s the heart of our business. Whether that is through our work in the field with farmers, or in the communities where we operate around the world, it is core to our global operations and is a priority for how we steward our business every day.
Five years ago, Monsanto laid out an ambitious set of goals in sustainable agriculture focused on these key areas where our business could help to make a positive impact for farmers and broader society. We committed to support agriculture’s ability to produce more on the same footprint of land while conserving other natural resources. At that time, we also committed to help improve lives by supporting new tools and approaches to help lift smallholder farmers out of poverty and improve their overall prosperity. Today, the more than 21,000 men and women of Monsanto around the world continue this important work.
Agriculture is a tough business. And, it’s clear that delivering innovation to the world’s farmers to accelerate growth is more critical than ever. No single company, organization or government can do it all. The public and private sector need to do a better job of working together with increasing efficiency and scale.
As part of this year’s report, I’m pleased to highlight our business’ progress towards delivering against our commitments. Our progress on our sustainable yield goals are on track in some areas and not as far along in others.
You will see this year we took some significant steps to further embed sustainability in our business and to increase public awareness of our environmental, societal and governance programs and performance. We completed our first formal materiality analysis of the issues that matter most to our business and society. This process built upon and enhanced our ongoing stakeholder engagement efforts and is helping define our business strategy. In addition, we established a Sustainability Strategy Council consisting of senior leaders from each of our global functions to guide and implement our sustainability efforts in our organization. It’s a great start and we all realize there is more to do.
I encourage you to take time to read this report and visit our website to learn more about the work that we are doing as a company and in partnership with others to support farmers and sustainable agriculture. I’m very proud of the work that we’ve done to date and I look forward to accelerating our efforts over the coming years.
I welcome your feedback and critical-thinking about the issues central to the agriculture industry and meeting the demands of our growing planet. Together, I’m convinced we can help farmers achieve more and help all of us and our world in the process.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer