More sustainability for people and the environment
Royal DSM strives to reduce malnutrition around the world, lower emissions from animal farming and strengthen the livelihoods of small farmers by 2030. Royal DSM is increasing its efforts in the areas of sustainability and health, and its commitment shows that sustainability must be viewed holistically.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Global food production is feeding more people than ever before. At the same time, it is also significantly contributing to a number of problems. For example, a quarter of global greenhouse gases come from the production of food and consumption. There is also widespread malnutrition, and some two billion people have a “micronutrient gap,” due to insufficient access to vitamins and minerals. In addition, many farmers live in poverty. DSM has committed itself to counteracting these trends and has set concrete goals:
Around a third of of the world’s population have insufficient access to adequate nutrition. Many suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiency. Fortified staple foods and dietary supplements offer a more efficient and simpler way to improve these conditions. DSM is working to close the micronutrient gap for 800 million people by 2030 through fortified staple foods and dietary supplements. The company is also undertaking to strengthen the immune systems of 500 million people. This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reduce greenhouse gases
Agriculture makes a significant contribution to greenhouse gases and thus to climate change, especially through livestock farming. At the same time, agriculture is one of the first sectors to suffer from changed climate conditions. For this reason, reducing greenhouse gases is urgently needed. Greenhouse gases from dairy production will be reduced by 20 percent by 2030. At the same time, emissions of ammonia from pig farming and emissions of phosphorous from poultry farming will each by cut by a third. Feed additives will, for example, decrease the amount of methane produced in cows’ stomachs.
Around a billion people around the world earn a living from agriculture. Nearly half live in poverty and can scarcely afford nutritious food. They need a fair and stable income to be able to meet their basic needs. DSM has committed itself to improving the livelihood of 500,000 small farmers by 2030. In order to achieve this goal, DSM is increasing its collaboration with Africa Improved Foods (AIF). This public-private partnership based in Rwanda produces affordable food that has been fortified with nutrients. It procures grains from local farmers, allowing them to earn a secure and regular income. As this example shows, there is a social aspect to sustainability too.
The reduced use of plant protection products is causing much smaller wheat and rapeseed harvests. A study carried out by Swiss Agricultural Research reveals that such crop failures can only be offset by state subsidies. This is neither sustainable nor resource-efficient.
The economic interdependence of the world has increased greatly over the past years and decades. Due to the brisk trade activity between the continents, invasive plant and animal species are also spreading faster and faster. This can lead to serious problems for native vegetation and agriculture. According to the FOEN, the canton of Ticino is particularly affected.
Invasive pests and plant diseases are among the greatest challenges for biodiversity and agriculture. They often enter Switzerland via travel and imported goods and cause great damage to cultivated and wild plants. Since 2020, the import of plants from non-EU countries is prohibited. However, introduced pests are a worldwide problem.
The Japanese beetle was first discovered in Switzerland in 2017 in Ticino. Now it has made it to the northern side of the Alps. After being found in Basel-Stadt and Solothurn, a larger population of the beetles has been found in Kloten for the first time. They are controlled with traps, but also pesticides.