USA – Food and agribusiness giant Cargill has stipulated a series of initiatives that will enable it to develop agriculture solutions that protect and enhance water resources in a bid to achieve sustainable water management in its operations by 2030.
To achieve its water targets and improve access to clean water, Cargill aims to restore 600 billion litres of water in priority watershed by 2030 and reduce 5 million kg of water pollutants in priority watersheds.
In addition, the company seeks to improve access to safe drinking water in 25 priority watersheds and implement Water Stewardship program at its 81 priority facilities aligned to the Alliance for Water Stewardship standard by 2025.
“The world relies on access to clean water, for health, nutrition and economic prosperity,” said Dave MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and CEO.
“We must find ways to improve water quality and availability in the communities where we live and work, while also advancing the sustainability and efficiencies of our supply chains.
“We are focusing on the specific challenges faced by local communities and watersheds to accelerate our positive impact,” he stated.
One of the ways in which Cargill will achieve its goal is by partnering with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
By collaborating with Ohio State Water Quality Extension Associates, Cargill will engage farmers in implementing regenerative agriculture practices focused on soil health, water restoration and reduce nutrient runoff.
Cargill will also support the formation of a Water Quality Research Consortium to promote applied interdisciplinary on farm research across the state, parts of which have been affected by harmful algal blooms.
Through this new partnership, Cargill will help connect farmers in northwest Ohio to funding resources such as H2Ohio, the state’s water quality plan, for conservation practices, and provide access to cutting edge nutrient application and remote sensing equipment and technology.
In Mexico, Cargill has been working with Bimbo and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) for over three years to implement programs that enable corn farmers to adopt sustainable agriculture practices such as soil conditioning, fertilizer and nutrient management and improved irrigation.
The programs have provided water savings of over 1 billion liters since they began in 2018.
Additionally, Cargill joined forces with the Iowa Soybean Association and Quantified Ventures to launch a collaborative, market-based program to improve soil health, carbon storage and water quality on nearly 9,500 acres in Iowa.
This year, the fund will achieve an estimated 170,000 pounds of nitrogen reductions and 14,250 pounds of phosphorus reductions in water.
The program aims to scale this up to 100,000 acres next year, and also look for ways to bring this type of program to other parts of the world.
Providing access to clean drinking water Cargill is collaborating with CARE in Indonesia on the Promoting a Sustainable and Food Secure World project which is implementing better sanitation facilities in schools alongside providing nutrition education.
In its first phase, the program has reached more than 75,000 people and improved sanitation facilities at 28 schools.
Cargill is also a member of the Water Resilience Coalition, which is an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative.
In this space, Cargill is furthering its commitment to work with other companies and communities to reduce global water stress by 2050.
The targets are science-based and were developed in close partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI).
“While for years companies have set targets that try to address global water issues, the local nature of shared water challenges has meant targets aren’t necessarily meaningful in the areas in which companies operate or from where they source.
“But Cargill’s latest ambition sets targets specific to the catchment context and severity of the local water challenges,” said Sara Walker, senior manager, water quality and agriculture at WRI.
Cargill believes that agriculture is how the global food system can become more sustainable. In addition to its global water targets, Cargill’s sustainability efforts focus on land use, climate, farmer prosperity, and food security.
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