Over the course of centuries, larger, more-efficient farming has helped improve yields in commodity crops to feed a growing population, which has also boosted agricultural incomes. But at the same time, agriculture is faced with challenges, including degrading soil quality, fertilizer and pesticide run off, and the effects of climate change. These challenges require action today to protect land for future generations to use and to preserve biodiversity and natural resources.
The latest science recommends no more than 15 percent of global land should be cultivated for crops. Today, the planet is right on the cusp of this threshold, which is why it’s now our goal as part of our Sustainable In A Generation Plan to hold that total flat in land area associated with our value chain.
Working With Supply Chain Partners To Boost Production
We’re working with our supply chain partners to boost agricultural production without extending our overall land footprint. This means focusing on efficient, sustainable land use, as well as rehabilitating degraded land. We see significant opportunity. Take cocoa; it accounts for nearly one third of our land footprint and has the potential to triple yields. Increasing yields will help us hold flat our land footprint, even while our business continues to grow.
Land Use Policies
A significant environmental and social impact of our business is the amount of land required to produce the raw materials for our products. Although we do not control the farms and field sites that supply us, we recognize the importance of ensuring those areas do not expand beyond a safe limit for agricultural land. This is critical for the health of our planet and well-being of farming communities. Learn more in our Land Use Position Statement.
In addition to land management we are:
- Leveraging science to improve production processes and increase healthy yields on existing cultivated land. In 2010, with partners IBM and the US Department of Agriculture, we published the preliminary version of the cacao genome, the first step in advancing farmers’ ability to plant more robust, higher-yielding, and drought-and disease-resistant trees.
- Focusing on cocoa sustainability by joining the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, collaborating with other companies to tackle forest loss linked to cocoa production. In November 2017, we endorsed the Cocoa & Forests Initiative pledge to end deforestation and restore forests, starting in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the world’s main cocoa producers. Learn more in our Approach to Cocoa and Forests.
- Assessing our impacts by working with suppliers and other partners to examine the impacts of land use in our supply chains on people and the planet and identify ways we can work together to improve these outcomes.
Ultimately, by better managing the land and increasing yields in sustainable ways, we can better protect our environment. Learn more in our Climate Action Position Statement.