A Banner Year for Sustainability: Translating the Results of 2015

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A Banner Year for Sustainability: Translating the Results of 2015

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A Banner Year for Sustainability - How DuPont is Translating the Results of 2015 http://bit.ly/1qIhuCA

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Dawn Rittenhouse is the global Director of Sustainable Development for DuPont.

Thursday, April 14, 2016 - 11:25am

CAMPAIGN: DuPont 2020 Sustainability Goals


2015 was a pivotal year for global sustainability.  In September, the leaders of 193 United Nations (UN) Member States adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The SDGs, comprised of a set of 169 targets, are the heir to Millennium Development Goals and represent a shared vision for what needs to be achieved by 2030 to secure a sustainable future.   A few months after the SDGs were announced, world leaders gathered in Paris and agreed in principle to a new global framework to address climate change. 

While both the SDGs and Paris Agreement are public sector commitments, achieving them will require multi-stakeholder collaboration.  Yet these landmark agreements also take center stage in a sustainability environment already ripe with a dizzying array of sustainability frameworks, goals, and collaborations.  For corporate sustainability professionals, if 2015 was about the glitz and glam of heads of state shaking hands and striking deals, 2016 is about the granular work of unbundling the results and working to evolve our businesses to – where appropriate - support these global ambitions. 

Fortunately, many corporations are already deeply committed to solving global challenges.  On one hand, tackling issues like climate change, energy security, access to nutritious food, will require the type of innovation that only business can deliver.  On the other hand, supporting education, human rights, and economic empowerment will translate to a more inclusive trade environment and help connect people to markets in powerful new ways. 

Take the challenge of ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture (SDG # 2).  As a global leader in agriculture and nutrition, DuPont believes in innovating to help feed the world – and doing it in a responsible and sustainable way. We have long applied our extensive resources and know-how to battling food insecurity, improving nutrition, increasing crop yields, protecting crops and ensuring the safety of the food supply from farm to fork. 

Our involvement extends beyond market needs to an on-the-ground commitment to engaging young people and improving rural communities.  Specifically, through our 2020 Food Security Goals, we are facilitating two million engagements of young people around the world in sustainable agriculture and working to improve the livelihoods of at least three million farmers and positively impact their communities.

DuPont has long believed that collaboration can unlock answers by bringing unique components of an overall solution together.  For example, one of the initiatives helping us achieve our goal is our Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP).  AMSAP provides agronomic training, improved inputs, and greater access to credit, markets, and grain storage.   In Ethiopia, DuPont partnered with USAID and the Ethiopian Government’s Ministry of Agriculture to implement the program and the results have been stellar.  In the first 2 years, participating farmers saw an average 200% increase in yield. 

Since inception, AMSAP has been applied to over 8,500 demonstration plots, thousands of farmers have been trained directly and many more impacted.  As a result, the program was extended for another three years to 2018, with the goal of directly reaching 100,000 farmers.   Over the course of the collaboration, we expect to invest approximately $5 million and positively impact more than 100,000 farmers.   In initiatives such as AMSAP, we find the sweet spot for how business can impact the SDGs.  Aligning strategic priorities – in this case supporting new markets and facilitating increased yields - with those of the global sustainability community, we can create value for the business, its shareholders, and those the SDGs most intend to help. 

Dawn Rittenhouse is the global Director of Sustainable Development for DuPont. She joined DuPont in 1980 and has held positions in Technical Service, Sales, Marketing, and Product Management.   Since 1997, she has been working to integrate sustainability strategies into DuPont business units.  She also leads DuPont’s efforts at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the United Nations Global Compact. To learn more about our Food Security efforts, please visit http://foodsecurity.dupont.com/.

CATEGORY: Environment