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DuPont Commits $10 Billion to Food Security Research

Words by Bill DiBenedetto
Energy & Environment
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Global chemical giant DuPont has set ambitious sustainability targets for 2020 that focus on three strategic areas: innovation, food security and the company’s footprint.

Specifically, DuPont says it will invest a startling $10 billion in food security research and development, create 4,000 new products, and facilitate “2 million engagements with young people around the world to foster sustainable food and agriculture knowledge.” In addition, it will “improve the livelihoods” of at least 3 million farmers and their rural communities. Is “ambitious” an understatement?

DuPont’s 2015 Sustainability Progress Report says its 2020 goals include a challenge to make all the products in its pipeline “contribute to a safer, healthier, more sustainable world.”

“A rising global population and middle class, food insecurity, and energy demands are among the many factors placing unprecedented strains on our planet’s scarce resources,” says Edward D. Breen, chair of the board and CEO of DuPont. “We believe solutions lie in collaborative efforts involving people and institutions with a stake in building a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.”

The report says a major goal for 2020 is to “innovate to feed the world.” In line with that, the company “will continue to develop innovations that produce more food, enhance nutritional value, safety and agricultural sustainability, and boost availability and shelf life, while reducing waste.”

Regarding its footprint goals, DuPont said it will reduce its non-renewable energy use by 10 percent per adjusted dollar of revenue, compared to a baseline of 2010, and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions “intensity” by 7 percent from a 2015 baseline.

The company said it will generate less waste with each of its business lines, meeting a 2020 waste goal “appropriate to their operations in the respective businesses.”

Also, DuPont said sites that have been evaluated as “high or extremely high water risk will establish risk mitigation plans and complete priority implementation objectives by 2020.”

The report noted that in 2014, DuPont:


  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent

  • Reduced its total water consumption by 4 percent

  • Recorded an 11 percent reduction in non-renewable energy use

  • Posted $2.6 billion in revenue from products that created energy efficiency and/or significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions

“We challenged ourselves to set the bar higher and do even more to embed sustainability in our innovation portfolio,” said Linda J. Fisher, chief sustainability office and vice president of DuPont's Safety, Health and Environment division.

Well, $10 billion for food security research does set the bar way high – throwing money at a problem of this size should reap some progress, shouldn’t it?

Image: Cover from DuPont's 2015 Sustainability Progress Report 

Bill DiBenedetto

writer, editor, reader and general good (ok mostly good, well sometimes good) guy trying to get by

Read more stories by Bill DiBenedetto