ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, US — Action on climate, building responsible supply chains, and being accountable are three keys to the foundation of the sustainability pillar at Bunge Ltd., said Robert John Coviello, senior vice president of sustainability and government affairs at the company.
Presenting at the BMO Capital Markets Growth & ESG Conference held virtually on Dec. 9, Coviello described Bunge as a leader on the sustainability front, with many years of actionable progress to back its claim.
In terms of climate, Coviello said Bunge has taken steps to create innovative solutions to minimize its environmental footprint, supporting projects and activities that he said “really change and drive our approach to climate change.”
Meanwhile, building responsible supply chains “is at the core of who Bunge is,” Coviello said. He said the company seeks to connect the farmer to the end consumer, and through its oilseed platform Bunge has found ways to promote sustainable agriculture by having impact projects that support environmental activities, while also supporting programs around social and human rights policies in the areas where the company does work.
“I would say the flagship element of that is our industry-leading deforestation commitment,” Coviello said. “We’re the only company in the industry that’s made a commitment to have deforestation-free supply chains by 2025.”
The final piece of the pillar revolves around being accountable.
“That means we say what we’re going to do, and we’re going to do what we say,” he said. “And that is really linked to raising the bar performance for the industry. So what we do is we’ve consistently regularly tracked, and we disclosed our progress on our commitments and on our sustainability performance.
“Now within those, we feel very confident that we will continue to hit those targets. We’ve been working at it a long time. We’re making good progress, and we’re going to meet them. But Bunge alone is not the solution to these problems. That’s why we’re working with all the key players.”
Coviello said Bunge receives constant feedback on its sustainability efforts, but perhaps more importantly, the company is actively seeking input on how to improve.
“Because this space is moving so fast, we’re constantly going out there and getting feedback to make sure that we’re doing the right things for both our customers, the environment, farmers and the places where we work,” he said.