It has been a year of progress on many fronts at Bunge — enhancing the transparency and sustainability of our value chains, reducing the impact of our operations, strengthening governance and increasing disclosure. We were also named the most sustainable company in Brazil for 2015. Bunge is a more sustainable company today than 12 months ago, and we anticipate continued progress in the future.
Our philosophy is to “Act, Conserve and Engage.” We intend to move, even when the path is not clearly marked; to find new ways to reduce our footprint; and to collaborate actively with other value chain participants and civil society. There is much we can do alone, but more we can do in partnership.
Acting to Reduce Deforestation
One of the most salient challenges we face is to eliminate deforestation from our value chains. While we believe incidences of current deforestation to grow crops that eventually pass through Bunge’s operations are limited, we want to prevent agriculture from expanding over environmentally valuable areas. It is a complex problem. Farmers own these lands. It is legal to plant on them. There are few existing means of compensating growers for forest conservation or ecosystem services.
Solutions will come from collaboration and multi-stakeholder action. We’ve collectively demonstrated in the Amazon Biome that agriculture can expand over pasture, degraded lands and other areas instead of forest. The challenge is how to ensure similar performance over a much vaster territory, encompassing thousands more farmers, different governments and legal structures, and varying ecosystems and economic models. Our commitment to solving the problem has led us, in addition to our own activities, to build a coalition of companies, NGOs and others to create decision support tools that will help guide agriculture into areas of high agronomic potential and low conservation value.
Our work in palm oil is advancing in a similar fashion. We have made progress in increasing the traceability of our palm supply — reaching nearly 75 percent globally and over 95 percent outside of Asia — while expanding our governance. Earlier this year, we launched a public grievance mechanism and have developed supplier verification processes. Through an effort led by The Forest Trust, we are addressing the challenge of how to increase the traceability of palm oil in the Indian market.
Conserving Resources in Our Operations
Within our own walls, we have made significant progress in reducing the footprint of our industrial assets. Between 2010 and 2015, absolute levels of waste sent to landfill and water consumption in our oilseed operations fell by 29 and 18 percent, respectively. Production during that time increased 12 percent, while emissions rose only 8 percent. We expect to announce new goals for our operations later this year.
Our new Sustainability Council, which comprises business leaders from around Bunge, is helping to inform strategic decisions and plans, within and outside of our direct operations. It works in concert with senior management, sustainability teams and the Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility Committee of the Board of Directors to shape a path that integrates sustainability closely with our commercial and operational strategies, and ultimately generates greater value for the enterprise.
All of these activities and governance enhancements are described in this report, in which we are applying the GRI G4 guidelines Core option, and in an expanding portfolio of public disclosures. We are also adding the CDP Forests disclosure and UN Global Compact COP to our existing CDP Water and Climate Change disclosures, the RSPO ACOP and our regional GRI reports.
Engaging Across the Sector
This year, Bunge became a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). We envision the WBCSD to be a strong platform on which we can share our voice on critical issues and collaborate with like-minded companies to address the challenges discussed above. For well over a decade, Bunge has been a leading player in coalitions that have made vital contributions to advancing sustainability in agribusiness and food. From the Soy Working Group in Brazil to Field to Market, the CEO Water Mandate, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative and the New Vision for Agriculture, Bunge has lent its voice in support of collective solutions where they are needed most. Our intent is to be an even stronger advocate in the future.
As I stated in my letter of last year, nothing is more fundamental than food. Ensuring the sustainability of the agribusiness and food value chain is an essential task for companies like Bunge and for society broadly.
I invite you to visit the sections of this report so you can learn more about how we are acting, conserving end engaging to meet the challenge of increasing sustainability in the global agribusiness and food production chain.