Advancing Global Food Security

Oct 27, 2016 12:30 PM ET

More people have access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food around the world today than ten years ago.  The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that the number of undernourished people has fallen by approximately 167 million during that period.  This improvement is cause for celebration but there is still much to be done: almost 800 million – just over one in nine people on the planet – still remain hungry.  Issues like climate change, population growth, political instability, inadequate infrastructure and R&D investment, and global economic uncertainty also exist, threatening to undo the hard won progress that has been made on global food security. 

That’s why stakeholders at every stage of the food value chain – NGOs, governments, academia, and the private sector – must continue to collaborate and relentlessly innovate to improve food security for the most at-risk individuals in our society.  As one of the world’s leading science and innovation companies, DuPont is committed to leveraging its world-class science and engineering expertise to enhance food availability, affordability, and overall nutrition throughout the planet. 

In 2012, DuPont set an ambitious set of Food Security Goals, part of our overall DuPont 2020 Sustainability Goals.  These goals were conceived in the spirit of “what gets measured gets done” and focus on innovating to feed the world, engaging and educating youth, and improving rural communities.  In 2015, we made important progress in each area:

  1. Innovating to Feed the World.  DuPont is committed to investing $10 billion in research and development and introducing 4,000 new products by the end of 2020.  In 2015, we invested $1.146 billion in R&D, bringing our total to just under $5 billion.  We also introduced 633 new products and now need just 1,032 more to achieve our goal.
  2. Engaging and Educating Youth.  By the end of 2020, DuPont will facilitate 2 million engagements with young people around the world to transfer the knowledge of sustainable food and agriculture and the impact it will have on a growing population.  In 2014, we exceeded our target but remain committed to continuing progress and in 2015 we engaged nearly 200,000 additional youth. 
  3. Improving Rural Communities.  DuPont will work to improve the livelihoods of at least 3 million farmers and their rural communities through targeted collaborations and investments that strengthen agricultural systems and make food more available, nutritious and culturally available.  This is in addition to the work already being done by DuPont to enhance the lives of hundreds of millions of farmers through our normal business practices.  Through 2015, we have improved the livelihoods of approximately 1.2 million farmers and their rural communities.      

While these goals enable us to directly support farmers around the world - from Ukraine to Brazil to India and Kenya – DuPont also works with civil society and the public sector to advance policy and global initiatives that address the macro-trends impacting farmers in nearly every country. 

For example, DuPont is continuing its legacy of climate leadership by engaging in many forums around the world to encourage global action on climate change.  In 2015, we were one of many corporate voices to advocate for a successful outcome at the Paris climate negotiations (COP 21).  We also support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  While these goals are primarily aimed at governments around the world, DuPont – along with other companies – is examining its own sustainability goals and commitments to understand how we can best help achieve the SDGs.  Finally, DuPont wants to ensure that the dialogue around food security does not falter.  That’s why each year we commission the Global Food Security Index, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, to understand on a country-by-country level the status, stresses, and needs of local food systems.   

In 2015, DuPont accelerated a strategic transformation to ensure that we are positioned for sustainable long-term value and continued success in the future.  This transformation includes the planned merger with The Dow Chemical Company and the intended creation of three strong, independent, industry-leading businesses in agriculture, material sciences, and specialty products.  While this is a time of tremendous change for our company, one thing that will not change is our commitment to advancing food security. 

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