Farm input sector & sustainability

Farm input sector & sustainability

Societal pressure on farm inputs is increasing. On the one hand, fertilisers, pesticides and seeds have enormously improved the quality and yields of crop and food production while dealing with pest pressure and other threats on farms. On the other hand, the use of chemical is criticised for its environmental impacts and effects on human health. Seed development also has to deal with the intense debate on GMOs and new breeding techniques, such as CRISPR-Cas.

These trends and the shift towards sustainable agriculture will define your organisation’s portfolio of R&D, sales and marketing activities. Firms are expected to be increasingly involved in societal dialogues with farmers and other stakeholders in order to improve technology and the proper use of both chemical and natural resources.

At the same time, climate change increase extreme weather conditions such as droughts and heavy rains, which affect pest pressure and soil conditions. These provide a clear opportunity for the plant science sector to develop new, resilient farm inputs to face these challenges on farms.

Reduce your societal footprint and gain acceptance of your farm inputs in five proven steps.

We provide refreshing insights on how to cope with your challenges in five proven steps. Whether you choose to use our expertise in all five steps or fewer, our sustainability management cycle brings you closer to achieving your sustainability goals.

Develop and review strategy

1. Develop & review your sustainability strategy

How will societal discussions and changing sustainable farm models define your portfolio and R&D process? How well do you know your products’ societal footprint? What business opportunities and challenges will Integrated Pest Management (IPM) provide?

We support you in answering these questions by scanning your portfolio to categorise the products according to societal footprint hotspots. For example, we may focus on what products are at risk of being phased out or cannot even reach the market. We can develop a customised framework and metrics to measure the economic, social and environmental effects of your products, distinguishing between crop, country, soil and climate conditions.

We deliver a relevant, ambitious and feasible strategy and a baseline insight into your sustainability performance. This is the foundation for further improvements.

Products that help you define your strategy

Improvement plan

2. Sustainability improvement plan

The next step is to develop a plan to improve the sustainability profile of your farm input portfolio. This includes running specific societal cost-benefit analyses on your products alongside, considering improvement opportunities on farms regarding sustainable input use (Good Agricultural Practices).

We can assess effective interventions at farm level to positively influence farm behaviour, weighing up financial cost benefits, expected support and the likely social and environmental impact. All these steps will highlight specific areas and actions for improvement at product and supply chain level.

Furthermore, we can analyse societal acceptance of new inputs (seeds, pesticides, fertilisers) among farmers, consumers and other stakeholders. We can facilitate focus groups and surveys to better understand acceptance and examine options of how to integrate this into your business operations, such as in your R&D cycle.

Products for a concrete action plan:

  • Societal cost-benefits of farm inputs
  • Societal acceptance assessment
  • Sustainability intervention strategies
  • Decision support systems
  • More about products and tools
Integrated monitoring system

3. Integrated sustainability monitoring

We measure your progress by monitoring the sustainability profile of your portfolio and farm adoption levels of sustainable practices. Here, we distinguish between the factors that you can directly influence - portfolio set-up, as well as time and money invested in capacity building on farms, to name a few exemples - and ultimate impact goals, such as lower farm emissions, soil and water quality and biodiversity.

We regularly provide monitoring data reports and presentations. We also deliver tailored, real-time dashboards and apps that you can share easily with your internal and external stakeholders.

Products that keep you informed:

Implementation

4. Implementation

During implementation, we can provide support - in setting up training programmes and other capacity building exercises - on farms to positively influence farm behaviour and encourage more environmentally friendly farming.

Building in our independent position, we can also facilitate societal dialogues with stakeholders from the farm input sector.

Products that facilitate change are:

Impact evaluation

5. Sustainability impact evaluation

Thanks to our rigorous evaluation techniques, we can critically test whether your strategy has delivered. For example, did farmers use your input products more sustainably and could we observe improvements (e.g. costs, carbon footprint, emissions to water and soil)? Which of your farm programmes are candidates for upscaling, and which ones should be adjusted? Moreover, did farmers adopt your new (more sustainable) inputs as expected and why?

We report whether you can link specific observed effects with the interventions, which will help you to draw the right conclusions. Furthermore, we give insight into the cost-effectiveness (i.e. impact per invested dollar).

Our reports provide evidence of whether you are on the right track or that you have to adjust your sustainability plan striking the right balance between societal impact, investments and financial gains.

Products that tell you to what extent you achieved your goals: