Bayer has delivered the first shipment of Brazilian soybeans with a measured, tracked and deforestation-free carbon footprint (DCF – Deforestation and Conversion FREE Soy). Known as ″PRO Carbono Commodities,″ the initiative is the first to be made public under a global program launched by the company to develop its sustainability strategy, the Bayer Forest Protection, which aims to demonstrate how agribusiness can be part of the solution to climate change and preserve biodiversity.
The delivery of the first load, produced by Bom Futuro Agrícola, will be made to ADM, a global company that manages and processes the agricultural supply chain, which will monitor the transport phase until the grain arrives at the storage unit. This is the first harvest for PRO Carbono Commodities, which covers the production of soy by 10 Brazilian farmers located in the Cerrado and Amazon biomes, on a total area of 159,000 hectares. The project measures the carbon footprint during the entire agricultural process, from pre-planting to harvest, and continues through the transport phase until grain delivery with transparency and traceability of information, to validate this innovative product along the supply chain.
The initiative guarantees that production comes from an area free of deforestation (DCF), totaling approximately 90,000 hectares of natural vegetation, considered a legal reserve and its surplus. As a prerequisite for participation, farmers must not have converted areas of natural vegetation into agricultural fields in the past 10 years, even if legally authorized, a practice in line with international carbon certification standards. In addition, by joining the program, they must commit to preserving the surplus of natural vegetation on their properties.
The program recorded primary data from the areas that produced 240,000 tons of soy and accounted for an average carbon footprint of 861.55 CO 2 eq/t. The measurement was carried out using a tool known as PRO Carbono Footprint, developed collaboratively through a partnership between Bayer and Embrapa and based on an internationally-recognized methodology, the life cycle analysis (LCA). "It is a considerable difference when compared with values available in internationally recognized databases, and indicate that the average carbon footprint of Brazilian soy is 2,600 kg CO 2eq/t. These comparative bases are a reference for evaluating the efficiency of the production process. However, it is important to point out that, as scientific knowledge progresses, these references must be constantly updated to allow for more accurate information," said Fabio Passos (Director of Bayer's Carbon Business for Latin America).
In the coming months, other initiatives aimed at promoting the sustainability strategy will be announced by the multinational as part of the Bayer Protection of Forests program that will be launched first in Brazil. The program will involve initiatives focused on supporting sustainable production in the grain and fiber chains, and creating value for farmers who contribute to the preservation of natural vegetation. In this way, Bayer, together with farmers and partners, can build solutions that will have a positive impact on nature.
How it works
The amount of soy produced with a measured footprint is audited by Bureau Veritas, as an independent third party entity, and delivered to ADM with origin qualification, containing traceable information on production and a calculation of emissions, in line with socio-environmental analyses. They can be, therefore, confirmed to not overlap with indigenous land or quilombola territory and conservation units, or areas with working conditions similar to slavery, or a list of areas embargoed by the environmental authorities, IBAMA, SEMA and ICMBio, while being in environmental compliance with the Forestry Code and assessments of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR).
Through this traceability system via QRCode and blockchain, Bayer offers greater transparency and confidence about the origin of grains in the entire chain, going beyond what is currently available in the market. The project also supports participating farmers with agronomic recommendations, so production occurs under a set of regenerative practices that help reduce carbon emissions.
PRO Carbono Commodities is an offshoot of PRO Carbono, launched in 2021 with 1,900 Brazilian farmers, whose work aim to increase productivity in the field and carbon sequestration in the soil by utilizing regenerative practices.
″We started by helping farmers to better understand the dynamics of carbon sequestration in the soil, and based on these teachings, we are now extending our gaze to the entire value chain, to create an ecosystem that helps companies reduce their emissions throughout the production process. We are doing this based on science, to promote an increasingly regenerative agriculture that protects natural vegetation and supports the decarbonization of the industry,″ Passos said.
″For us at ADM, it is a privilege to participate, as partners with Bayer and Embrapa, in the development of this methodology, which supports rural producers in Brazil and aims to preserve forests and an even more sustainable and regenerative agriculture. More carbon in the soil reduces CO2 emissions and is in line with our environmental commitments, therefore, delivering sustainable processes and products to an increasingly demanding consumer is our priority,″ said Luciano Souza (Director of Grains at ADM América do South).
″We understand that it will be a great opportunity to present our sustainable agricultural practices to the world, which protect natural vegetation, prevent deforestation and support global decarbonization efforts,″ said Fernando Maggi Scheffer (CEO of Bom Futuro).
In the Bayer Forest Protection program, PRO Carbono Commodities is working on other action fronts that will be launched in the coming months. The idea is to develop new business models and initiatives that are scalable, to make agriculture part of the solution in the fight against climate change and the challenge of preserving biomes.
"We want to prove, through scientific knowledge and research conducted together with farmers, that the forest is essential for sustainable agriculture. More than showing the correlation between the two and the importance of ecosystem balance, Bayer will create effective value propositions so producers can produce more efficiently while reinforcing sustainability in agriculture and the decarbonization of chains," said Márcio Santos (Commercial Leader of Bayer's Agricultural Division in Brazil).
In recent years, Bayer has developed several initiatives that help the company meet a series of sustainability commitments by 2030, such as becoming carbon neutral, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in key crops in the main regions where it operates, and reducing the environmental impact of its crop protection product by 30%.
"Sustainability is at the heart of our strategy, guiding not only our operations but also the development of new products and business models, to help shape the future of agriculture. We know that the sector has the potential to contribute to preserving biodiversity and mitigating the climate crisis. We know many farmers who are willing to face this challenge, open to adopting new solutions and improving regenerative management systems. We want to inspire others to follow this example," Santos said in conclusion.