Product Stewardship In Our Agricultural Business
One of the tenets of sustainable agriculture is the responsible management of agricultural input, like seeds, fertilizer and crop protection. We need to produce healthy, nutritious and affordable food responsibly, with respect and care for human health and the environment.
Therefore, we have established processes and business practices that support the responsible and ethical management of all our agricultural solutions throughout their entire life cycle, from discovery through usage to disposal. The progress made with such product stewardship activities is regularly mapped and reported to foster accountability at all levels.
The health of our customers and partners, the farmers and operators who use our products and their communities, is in the focus of our stewardship activities.
Beyond meeting all legal and regulatory requirements for the products themselves, our product stewardship programs include
- ensuring operator and bystander safety by making appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), closed transfer systems (easyconnect), and innovative application techniques available
- ensuring responsible product use by training farmers, operators and BASF sales teams around the world
Sustainable agriculture can only exist in healthy ecosystems, where biodiversity can flourish and ecosystem services are ensured. Therefore, another focus of our stewardship is environmental protection, enabling farmers to use our products in a way that helps them grow high-quality and affordable food, while minimizing impact on the environment. Beyond meeting all regulatory requirements for the use of our products, our stewardship activities aim at
- protecting water resources:
We inform and train farmers on the correct and responsible use of our crop protection products to avoid point source pollution like farmyard spills and diffuse water pollution like runoff or spray drift.
- preserving biodiversity: Although the biggest threat to biodiversity in agricultural landscapes is typically habitat loss, our stewardship activities, like technological innovations and trainings, aim to minimize exposure of non-target organisms like mammals, birds, insects or fish to crop protection products.
- developing digital decision-support tools to help farmers achieve an effective and responsible application of our products.
A responsible crop protection practice can go hand in hand with fostering biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. In addition, we are looking for ways to help the farmer improve ecosystem services, such as offering advice on soil preparation, and to identify other suitable measures that can enhance biodiversity in agriculture, like enhancing abundance of pollinators such as wild bees or farmland birds, such as larks. Creating suitable habitats like flower strips and nesting possibilities are examples of these measures.
To support biodiversity, BASF has launched various regional and local initiatives such as the BASF Farm Network in Europe, the Living Acres #MonarchChallenge in the US, or Mata Viva in Brazil. We work with farmers and other interested stakeholders to develop best practices for sustainable farming and nature conservation in a collaborative approach.
Our global principle of product stewardship holds true irrespective of region or function, we are united in pursuing the same goal – making a real and meaningful contribution to sustainable agriculture.
Product stewardship is integrated into our business activities around the world. Our global guidelines and training offers are customized into regional programs, based on local conditions and the specific needs of farmers and communities (e.g. in India).
Besides processes and trainings, technological innovations like the easyconnect closed-transfer system (Link to easyconnect), or our PPE kit initiative, are part of our global stewardship approach to meet specific local farmer needs and challenges.
Developing and implementing best practices is most effective when done together. In many parts of the world our product stewardship approach includes partnerships with local governments, business partners, non-governmental organizations and other key stakeholders along the agricultural value chain for a responsible and beneficial use of our products. Behavior change is one of the most difficult things to achieve and we recognize that a constant effort in training and raising awareness is needed. (Farming stories)
It goes without saying that we comply with all relevant laws, regulations and international agreements by acting in accordance with the principles of Responsible Care®, the FAO/WHO (United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organisation) International Code of Conduct on Pest Management and our own high internal standards for responsible business conduct. However, as a good corporate citizen, we want to go the extra mile to help farmers use our products responsibly and safely, for themselves, their communities and their environment.