By Elizabeth Niven
In 2009, Brazil passed into law a commitment to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 36.1 and 38.9 percent by 2020. In support of that commitment, Monsanto in Brazil joined Companies for the Climate, a corporate platform coordinated by Brazil’s Fundação Getúlio Vargas, and focused on contributing positively to the GHG discussion.
“Brazil wants to be a leader in the new ‘green economy’ and demonstrate this to the international community,” said Gabriela Burian, Monsanto sustainability manager in Brazil. “The timeline will be short, and we anticipate that in the next 18 months we’ll have new goals assigned for various sectors. We want to stand with Brazil as a leader in this area. One of the steps we are taking is to participate in the process from the beginning instead of waiting to see what will happen once the goals and regulations are issued.”
In addition to joining Companies for the Climate, Monsanto Brazil’s crop protection operating units, São José dos Campos and Camaçari, were the first Monsanto worldwide units to have a GHG emission inventory published. In fact, these operating units have had GHG emissions inventoried for the past four years, from 2007 to 2010.
“Mapping the impact of our reductions helps keep the company on a proactive path to reducing GHG, We also have mapped the impact of our GHG reductions,” said Burian. “It is important to mention that this inventory helps keep the company on a proactive path to reducing GHG.”
By participating in Companies for the Climate, Monsanto shares knowledge, good practices and technologies related to the low carbon market while contributing consistent data and coherent analyses. They work closely with other companies, including suppliers and customers, to search for GHG solutions. That puts Monsanto in a better position to supply services and products with a reduced carbon footprint.
“Customers who are market leaders are already asking their suppliers about CO2 emissions,” said Burian. “Most large companies are mapping CO2 in supply and production chains. This will help us respond to customer demand and also be prepared to discuss it as it pertains to government regulations.“
In this project, Monsanto Brazil creates corporate proposals to help shape and aim the formulation of public policies for the waste, electricity and industrial sectors. To accomplish this, they have formed an internal sustainability council, which is represented by more than 16 area managers or leads responsible for sustainability across the company. The members of the council are focused on GHG reduction and the social and environmental ramifications of their decisions. They consult with external representatives, who also serve on this sustainability council. This external team includes, Conserv International, a non-governmental conservation organization, Rabobank, a bank linked to agribusiness and forestry companies, leaders in sustainable business in Brazil which links Monsanto to its stakeholders and the public to help in decision making.
“Another goal of this program is to educate our employees so that this effort can take place internally,” said Burian. “Our employees contribute to ideas and look for opportunities to reduce GHG. Many partnerships have formed among production units and working subgroups. We also have employee-specific training and workshops and employees who are collecting data and analyzing variations. We plan to turn these initiatives into a standardized process and we’ll need everyone on board to help make this happen.”
Monsanto Brazil is a pioneer in GHG emissions; having the emissions inventoried for the past four years and having its processes mapped in terms of CO2 emissions as well as the impact of the efforts made in GHG reduction. Currently 100 percent of the crop protection units are complete, which represents around 85 percent of operating units in Monsanto Brazil. Next they will complete the other 15 percent focusing on their seed manufacturing units.
Potentially, when the official GHG emission targets in Brazil are mandatory, this mapping will allow Monsanto Brazil to quickly respond and immediately meet the regulations and serve as a model in sustainability.