We promote the most efficient use of natural resources and help farmers protect the environment by supporting the development of agricultural practices and systems that provide soil health and enhance biodiverse habitats. We help farmer to enhance biodiversity, ensure connectivity in agricultural landscapes, and optimize water use and water protection.
Environmental policy and management
Our commitment to environmental protection is clearly set out in our Syngenta Group Code of Conduct and Syngenta Group HSE Policy. As a leading global agribusiness committed to sustainable agriculture, we have a responsibility to protect the environment. Our industry leading commitment to environmental performance plays a key part in developing and protecting our reputation with all our stakeholders.
In our Crop Protection and Seeds business units, the HSE Policy and Standards, together with our Environmental Codes of Practice, establish minimum requirements that must be followed to reduce potential soil, surface water and groundwater contamination. We believe that good environmental management is everyone's responsibility. Our leaders are expected to champion our standards and encourage every employee in every location to take personal responsibility for reducing our environmental impacts.
In our Crop Protection and Seeds business units, our tailored Health, Safety and Environmental management system (HSE MS) is our framework of procedures and practices that enables us to implement our HSE Policy and Standards and monitor and improve our HSE performance.
The HS MS equips leaders to take ownership of HSE in their areas of responsibility. We also have a mandatory HSE Policy and Standards eLearning training to ensure employees fully understand their HSE responsibilities and accountabilities. We believe our HSE MS is more comprehensive than current ISO and EMAS systems as we include more demanding risk management and reporting requirements. Where there is a local or customer requirement to do so we have also secured ISO certification.
Sites are required to undergo an annual review of their HSE MS to ensure its continued effectiveness. We also maintain a formal, internal HSE audit process to verify compliance and identify improvement opportunities. Our HSE MS requires operations to understand their use of resources and implement programs to conserve natural resources; reduce impacts on the environment and adopt more environmentally sustainable practices. This is needed to ensure regulatory compliance, minimize potential liabilities, promote sustainability, and maintain business continuity.
Local environmental laws and regulations, and the way in which they are enforced, vary greatly around the world. We treat all local requirements as the minimum standard and often go much further as part of our consistent approach to compliance across our business.
In our Crop Protection and Seeds business units, we maintain Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) management systems across all our sites to ensure compliance with our own standards and external regulations. Sites asses their compliance with Syngenta HSE requirements annually. Each site measures and monitors its environmental impacts. Unplanned releases from our chemical manufacturing activities are a particular concern and we allocate significant resources to prevent such incidents. We report our environmental compliance in our Sustainable Business Report (p. 50).
Compliance and risk management is integrated and reviewed in all functions of Syngenta as part of operational management and governance. Risk and compliance issues are addressed and, if necessary, escalated to the respective business unit leadership team.
Syngenta's own active substances that meet the requirements of REACH Article 15.1 are considered exempt from REACH regulations. However, we manufacture and import raw materials, intermediates and co-formulants that are covered by REACH.
We monitor REACH and other environmental regulations globally to ensure we comply with requirements. We successfully met the requirements of the first two phases of REACH on target in 2010 and 2013, and have integrated the REACH requirements into our existing operations. We are on-track to meet the final phase deadline in 2018 and we have processes in place to ensure any relevant new raw materials, intermediates or co-formulants attain REACH registration.
A number of our sites have been selected for audit by ities as part of the REACH program so far and all have achieved successful outcomes.
Operational eco-efficiency performance
Robust reporting processes enable us to understand, monitor and report performance over time. We monitor and report annually the following key performance indicators: energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, other air emissions, water use, wastewater, and waste. We report our environmental impact in absolute terms and normalized against sales to measure intensity as our business grows.
An external auditor is appointed annually to assure the sustainability data – including environmental data - published in our Sustainable Business Report. This is completed in compliance with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 and assured annually by PwC.
Our environmental management system monitors our performance in energy efficiency and carbon emissions at our sites and helps us identify opportunities to reduce our impacts. Our sites have energy efficiency programs, which are continuous and permanent: upon achieving their targets, the sites will start striving for accomplishing even stricter programs.
We have a long tradition of assessing our chemical suppliers’ compliance with our health, safety and quality standards. In 2015, we joined the chemical industry’s Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative, which pools the resources of its member companies to optimize the efficiency of supplier audits. These include evaluation of suppliers’ action to track and reduce GHG emissions.
We are also committed to the reduction of CO2 emissions for all our land, sea and air distribution logistics.
In 2019 we set a 2030 target to reduce the Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon footprints by 50% in intensity terms. Syngenta also committed to reduce our water and waste intensity by 20%.
A number of our sites inherited environmental liabilities from legacy companies, including issues relating to old or current production, accident and landfill sites. We take these legacy issues very seriously. We participate in project organizations adopting a risk-based approach to secure, monitor or clean-up these sites. We apply our high standards of environmental management and protection to these sites.