Sustainability Report 2020

Message From Our CEO

In 2020, we continued to fulfill LDC’s key role to help feed and clothe millions of people around the world – safely, reliably and responsibly.

We did so despite the additional challenges posed by Covid-19, remaining focused on addressing sustainability challenges facing our business – from supporting vulnerable farming communities to mitigating climate change, and from protecting workers’ rights to conserving biodiversity.

In the context of Covid-19, we took steps to keep our people safe and essential food and feed chains moving, while pursuing our efforts to create fair and sustainable value across our supply chains and activities.

Protecting People

In a year when the ongoing pandemic posed unprecedented operational and safety challenges, I am pleased to report that 2020 was a record year for LDC in terms of safety performance. Our facilities collectively reduced accident frequency, gravity and severity by 27%, 33% and 47% respectively year on year, and saw the lowest-ever rate of recordable incidents. 

These positive results are the outcome of the safety-first culture we continually instill in every person working for and with LDC, and of ongoing investments to enhance workplace safety and training, exceeding US$130m in the last five years.

The Covid-19 crisis also underlined risks faced by key food value chain workers such as seafarers, some of whom were stranded far from their homes and families for months at a time as lockdowns affected shipping and port operations worldwide. To address this issue, we joined a global initiative alongside the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, the Institute for Human Rights and Business and other like-minded shipping industry stakeholders to establish a code of conduct protecting seafarers’ rights. Work began in 2020, aiming for code of conduct completion in 2021.

Supporting Producers

We also continue to invest in training for smallholder producers in our value chains, who are estimated to produce up to 80% of the world’s food, and whose resilience is therefore crucial to supply chain continuity and global food security.

In 2020, while respecting all applicable Covid-19 safety measures, engaging with these farmers remained a key element of our activities, training them to adopt sustainable and efficient agriculture practices, and facilitating access to equipment, infrastructure, financing and markets, in order to increase their productivity and profitability sustainably.

To this end, our agronomists across the world continued to work with local producers, teaching modern farming techniques that reduce production costs, mitigate climate change impacts, boost yields and so increase incomes.

From cotton farmers in India and rice growers in Côte d’Ivoire to coffee producers in several countries, our projects and initiatives continue to benefit thousands of farmers, students and their local communities, and for this I am very grateful for the collaborative efforts of our people and many partners worldwide, and in particular the Louis Dreyfus Foundation.

Acting for the Environment

2020 also underlined existing climate and environmental issues, and the increasingly urgent challenge to meet the world’s increased demand for agricultural products sustainably.

The application of our No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy therefore remained a key focus for our palm and soy businesses in particular, where we continued to increase supply chain traceability and transparency, mapping land use dynamics and reporting our sourcing profile, with targets to advance further in 2021.

At the same time, a range of agroforestry projects across the world – including at our citrus farms in Brazil – saw tens of thousands of trees planted to help prevent soil erosion, retain water and conserve biodiversity.

I am also pleased to report positive results in our environmental metrics, with reduction targets exceeded across our four KPIs: CO2 emissions, electricity and energy consumption, water usage and solid waste sent to landfill. The latter in particular saw a significant 45% reduction, as our rapeseed crushing and biodiesel plant in Wittenberg reduced solid waste generation by repurposing processing by-products previously sent to landfill, to produce innovative bio-based chemicals and biofuels. This result demonstrates the power of innovation to drive sustainable production.

Innovation and Partnerships for Sustainability

Increasingly, technology-enabled innovation is contributing to more sustainable operations – from waste repurposing in Germany to telemetry-controlled tractor engines at Brazilian farms, and from artificial intelligence for enhanced workplace safety in China, to new eco-efficient vessels for global juice transportation driving fuel consumption and emissions reductions.

Our Freight Platform, which decreased shipping emissions by over 6% year on year, is also stepping up its decarbonization journey by leveraging modern technologies. Adoption of platforms using machine-learning and near real-time data to build precise, tailored models of ship performance will enable more sustainable shipping activities through operational and technical optimization.

This said, we recognize climate impacts of international shipping activities can only be addressed through an industry-wide coordinated approach, which is why in 2020 LDC became one of the founding signatories of the Sea Cargo Charter, a pioneering multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to accelerate the global trajectory toward sustainable shipping through accurate and standardized measurement and reporting of shipping emissions.

Again with the aim of maximizing impacts through collaboration, we continued to partner with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2020, signing a new US$100 million financing facility to support the sustainable expansion of our operations in eight countries across EMEA. This agreement provides for the adoption by LDC of an enhanced climate corporate governance approach and support to farmers in adapting to climate challenges.

Looking to the Future

These partnerships and initiatives, and the progress we report for 2020, are paving the way toward a more sustainable future for food and agricultural production.

By holding ourselves accountable and providing transparency on the impacts of our operations and activities, we have laid good foundations for LDC’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting framework, which we have begun to set out in 2021.

In particular, we will progress from setting our own environmental targets to new, science-based ones, and will 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.

We have also set new, long-term diversity and inclusion targets that will underpin our efforts to create an increasingly inclusive work environment across our business, ensuring that we attract, retain and develop the best available talent.

We see this approach as key to driving lasting positive change, while continuing to provide key indicators of LDC’s profile as a leading industry participant whose identity and model are fundamentally linked with fair and sustainable value creation for the benefit of current and future generations.

As we turn to new and ambitious horizons in 2021, I would like to warmly thank our people everywhere for their incredible resilience and inspiring work in 2020, as well as the many partners who support, challenge and guide us in our work.

Together, we continue to make a difference for many people, communities and ecosystems around the world, while keeping LDC on a safe, successful and sustainable course for the future.

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