ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — Louis Dreyfus Co. (LDC), a merchant and processor of agricultural goods, on June 29 released its 2020 Sustainability Report, highlighting progress, setting new targets and reaffirming the company’s agenda to drive positive change across value chains to address pressing global challenges, underlined by the ongoing pandemic and global economic turbulence.
“In 2020, we continued to fulfill LDC’s key role to help feed and clothe millions of people around the world,” said Michael Gelchie, chief executive officer. “We did so despite the difficulties posed by COVID-19, remaining focused on addressing sustainability challenges facing our business — from supporting vulnerable smallholder farmers to mitigating climate change, and from protecting workers’ rights to conserving biodiversity.”
Continuing to invest in safety measures, LDC in 2020 registered the lowest number of workplace incidents at its facilities and reductions across its three accident indexes.
The company said it also exceeded its environmental Key Performance Indicator reduction targets for 2020, including a 45% reduction in solid waste sent to landfill, reducing shipping-related CO2 emissions by over 6%, operating a new fleet of eco-efficient ships for its juice business, and planting hundreds of thousands of trees worldwide as part of reforestation and agroforestry projects.
“2020 underlined existing climate and environmental issues, and the increasingly urgent challenge to meet demand for agricultural products sustainably,” said Guy Hogge, head of sustainability at LDC. “In addition to pursuing existing efforts to reduce our environmental footprint, in 2021 we will set new science-based emissions targets, and introduce a program to measure, monitor and ultimately reduce the Scope 3 carbon emissions related to the numerous and diverse supply chains that form the heart of our business.”
As part of its collaborative approach to sustainable development, the company was among the founding signatories of the Sea Cargo Charter, a pioneering multi-stakeholder initiative to accelerate the trajectory toward sustainable shipping through standardized measurement and reporting of shipping emissions and joined a collaborative project to develop a code of conduct protecting seafarers' rights.
LDC also reinforced its collaboration with the Louis Dreyfus Foundation and other partners to increase the resilience of smallholder farmers connected with its supply chains, training them in sustainable farming practices and facilitating increased access to infrastructure, financing and markets.
LDC said individual and joint initiatives in 2020 benefited tens of thousands of people in farming communities globally, with continued focus on empowering women farmers, and helped a group of smallholder farmers in Indonesia to be the world’s first to achieve RSPO ISH Standard certification.
“Engaging with farmers to understand their challenges, and working alongside them to address these, is key to promoting responsible practices and lasting change at the heart of the food chain,” Hogge said. “Bringing farmers increasingly into dialogue and discussions on sustainable production is therefore a cornerstone of our approach and activities.”
Recognizing supply chain transparency and traceability as additional key enablers of sustainable food and agricultural production, LDC said it also continued to make progress in this area, advancing with land use and sourcing profile mapping, reaching 88% traceability to farm for direct soybean purchases in Brazil, and achieving 100% traceability to mill level for directly sourced palm for its Indonesian refineries and 96% for indirect sourcing.
“As a leading merchant and processor of agricultural goods, we are in prime position to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by working collaboratively with customers, suppliers, investors, peers, NGOs and other stakeholders toward increasingly sustainable supply chains,” Gelchie said. “We continued to do this in 2020, overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic, and will continue to do so going forward, setting new targets, acting to improve practices across our business lines and operations, and influencing others to do the same.”
The report is available at ldc.com/sustainability-report-2020.