A Just Transition in Agriculture

By Elkin Hoyos
July 01, 2024
leading the charge for a just transition in agriculture

As the world grapples with climate change, the urgent need for both mitigation and adaptation is clear. Ensuring a just transition—one that protects livelihoods, provides equal opportunities, and builds resilience as we shift towards sustainability—is imperative. The Just Transition Framework, developed by the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, provides guidance for companies to ensure a fair and equitable energy transition for all stakeholders, including workers, consumers, and communities.

In 2023, the Council, along with World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and PwC, identified three key opportunities for companies in the agriculture sector to support a just transition:

  1. Support farmers and farmer-led climate initiatives.
  2. Invest in digital agriculture solutions.
  3. Put farmer livelihoods at the center of scope 3 emission reductions.

Leading the charge are companies like Bayer, which has set an ambitious 2050 net-zero target across its value chain. Guided by the Council’s Just Transition Framework, Bayer is strategically investing in strengthening farmer livelihoods as it deepens its understanding of farmer needs and climate transition risks.

Bayer puts its just transition principles into action through tangible solutions such as its ForwardFarming initiative. Unique in its global reach, the initiative includes 29+ farms across 14+ countries and cultivates 65+ types of fruits, vegetables, and grains. It combines traditional and innovative practices to produce high-quality food, feed, and renewable raw materials while preserving farmland and natural resources. These farms act as platforms for knowledge sharing, demonstrating sustainable farming practices in real-world settings. For example:

  • In Argentina, Bayer helped reduce carbon emissions by 59% while simultaneously improving yield on one farm.
  • In Chile, Spain, China, and the Netherlands, drip irrigation systems enabled farms to use 60% less water.
  • In Chile, a pollinator habitat increased bee biodiversity by over 230%.

Source: https://www.bayer.com/en/agriculture/forwardfarming

smart farming

French farmer Stephane Peillet integrated digital tools, wastewater management, and beekeeper partnerships in ForwardFarming, remarking: “The diverse practices we implement ensure we are respecting the environment and our community.” Through collaboration, agronomic training, and investing in sustainable agricultural technologies, Bayer is building climate resilience and opportunities.

Beyond ForwardFarming, Bayer pioneers efforts like the VITALA Project for sustainable corn, the LEAF coalition for tropical forest protection, the WASH program for rural sanitation and water conservation, and farmer climate risk insurance. This comprehensive approach is reinforced by global recognition including ranking #5 within the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) 2023 Food & Agriculture Benchmark Results and #4 in the Nature Benchmark Results.

As we confront the climate crisis, Bayer exemplifies how businesses can drive positive transformation. True transformation demands continuous commitment, transparency, and a willingness to address challenges head-on. Bayer demonstrates a holistic commitment to a just transition that protects livelihoods and builds resilience equitably. As more companies balance people, planet, and profit, we take strides towards a future where sustainability and inclusive prosperity are intrinsically intertwined.


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