Trucost Blog / 15 Jul 2011

Can feeding 7 billion be sustainable?

Trucost examines the environmental performance of Monsanto and Syngenta – and finds a significant disparity between their emissions.

Monsanto, one of the world’s leading biotechnology and agrochemical companies, has emitted between 200% and 300% more greenhouse gases per year than competitor Syngenta in recent years. Despite revenue disparities between the companies of only 2%-8%, differences in emissions remain high.

Monsanto, which has been accused recently of dumping chemicals into waterways and contaminating residential land, should reassess its sustainability policies and carbon management plans. Switzerland-based Syngenta offers almost identical products and services but emits over 1.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), less than Monsanto each year. In addition to lower emissions levels, Syngenta promotes agricultural programs in rural communities and works with local governments to improve conditions in farming areas.

While both companies contribute to feeding an exponentially growing global population, Syngenta proves that it is possible for Monsanto to operate in more sustainable ways, while continuing to meet demand for products and services. The chart below shows both companies’ Scope 1 and 2 emissions in the 2007 to 2009 period.

Chart 1: Monsanto and Syngenta’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions

Monsanto and Syngenta’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions

The Sustainable Development Goals give meaning and purpose, not just to corporate sustainability programs, but to an organization’s business objectives.

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