Our ambition is to be the most collaborative and trusted team in agriculture. Syngenta is a responsible corporate citizen, has clear and binding governance structures and is actively engaging with a great variety of different stakeholders.
Our purpose is Bringing plant potential to life and we’re a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 people in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. We are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities.
We play a vital role in the food chain to safely feed the world and take care of our planet. We will be the most collaborative and trusted team in agriculture, providing leading seeds and crop protection innovations to enhance the prosperity of farmers, wherever they are.
We work in more than 90 countries with farms of all sizes, from smallholdings of less than 2 hectares to sustainable industrial farms. The Good Growth Plan is having an increasing influence on our business and taking us nearer to realizing our ambition.
"The Good Growth Plan" reflects Syngenta's belief that agricultural productivity must increase in order to feed a global population which is currently increasing by 200,000 every day. At the same time, farmland is being depleted through urbanization and soil erosion while water resources are under increasing pressure. Rural communities – those responsible for growing food – are often trapped in poverty.
The Good Growth Plan includes specific commitments to address these critical challenges. By 2020, we commit to:
- Make crops more efficient – Increase average productivity of the world's major crops by 20 percent without using more land, water or inputs
- Rescue more farmland – Improve the fertility of 10 million hectares of farmland on the brink of degradation
- Help biodiversity flourish – Enhance biodiversity on 5 million hectares of farmland
- Empower smallholders – Reach 20 million smallholders and enable them to increase productivity by 50 percent
- Help people stay safe – Train 20 million farm workers on labor safety, especially in developing countries
- Look after every worker – Strive for fair labor conditions throughout our entire supply chain network
Our intention is to make a deep, lasting and positive impact on the farmers and rural communities who provide the world's food security and the long-term sustainability of our planet.
Syngenta, along with the industry, has been contributing to the sustainable intensification of agriculture around the world for many years. We welcome and support the call for intensified, cross-sectorial multi-stakeholder collaboration made through the SDGs in order to achieve progress. Private sector initiatives and partnerships play a crucial role in achieving many of the targets set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In a world where a growing population needs more food and where preserving natural resources is a basic requirement, agricultural technology can have a substantial and measurable impact.
In 2013, Syngenta launched The Good Growth Plan, an ambitious program that reflects many goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Syngenta has committed to help grow more food using fewer resources, while protecting nature and helping people in rural communities live better lives. Our company aims to make a deep, lasting and positive impact on the world’s food security and the planet’s long-term sustainability. Through the six commitments set out in The Good Growth Plan and the progress made so far, Syngenta demonstrates active support for many of the SDGs, especially in the field of how to sustainably grow crops, reduce hunger, alleviate poverty, conserve biodiversity and restore degraded land.
Find out more about the contribution we make to the SDGs.
We undertake regular materiality assessments to help us define the priority issues for our business and our stakeholders. These assessments incorporate an analysis of stakeholder concerns and expectations and the issues that we believe present the greatest risks and opportunities for our business. We use the results to drive our strategy, determine allocation of resources and guide our communication.
We engage with and collect feedback from stakeholders in a variety of ways. We hear from the grower community through satisfaction surveys and farmers' direct contact with our sales teams on the ground. We also engage directly with our employees and locally with the communities close to our operations. Our interaction with industry associations (e.g. CropLife), non-governmental organizations, international organizations (e.g. WEF, WBCSD), and governments enables us to gather feedback on our activities and monitor issues important to stakeholders. We also consider environmental and social aspects in our Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) assessments.
In 2018, we undertook three months of consultation with stakeholders from around the world in an effort to build a shared vision for the future of sustainable agriculture. Through listening and dialogue, we aim to better understand the role we can play and the commitments needed from all sides to help make a shared vision reality.
The most important issue identified in our materiality analysis is the global challenge of providing a growing population with healthy diets from sustainable food production. In particular, stakeholders want to know how Syngenta’s innovations will help farmers produce safe and nutritious food, protect natural resources, such as biodiversity and soil, and mitigate and adapt to climate change.
China National Chemical Corporation (“ChemChina”), through its affiliate CNAC Saturn (NL) B.V., holds all shares of Syngenta and is the sole owner of Syngenta. ChemChina is committed to respect the operational independence of Syngenta and its core values as expressed in its Code of Conduct, its core policies and in its sustainability programs. The Transaction Agreement concluded between ChemChina and Syngenta is underpinning this commitment by establishing a Committee of Independent Directors which is vested with important veto rights in all such areas. Accordingly, Syngenta will continue to operate in a strong corporate governance framework.
The Syngenta Board of Directors (Board) consists of eight non-executive Directors. The Board includes representatives with five nationalities, thereof one woman, drawn from broad international business and academic backgrounds. Its members bring diversity in expertise and perspective to the leadership of a complex, highly regulated, global business. Read more about the current Board members.
Our Articles of Incorporation outline in detail the responsibilities of the Board based on Swiss law. Some of the Board's powers and duties are delegated to Board Committees which are: the Governance & Nomination Committee, the Compensation Committee, the Audit Committee, the Corporate Sustainability Committee, and the Committee of Independent Directors. The Board and its Committees meet on a regular basis.
The Board has delegated the management of business operations to the Syngenta Executive Team.
Non-executive Directors receive an annual fee. This consists of a basic fee for services to the Board and an additional fee for individual assignments to committees of the Board. No variable compensation is paid to non-executive Directors.
The Syngenta Executive Team, under the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), is responsible for the active leadership and the operative management of the company’s business. It consists of the CEO, the President Global Crop Protection and EAME, LATAM and APAC, the President Global Seeds, North America, and China, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the Group General Counsel and the Head of Human Resources.
The compensation provided to the CEO and the other members of the Syngenta Executive Team consists of base salary and allowances, short-term and long-term incentives in cash, as well as pension, insurance and other benefits.
For Syngenta Executive Team members, all variable compensation is subject to performance measures. The short-term incentive (STI) plan rewards short-term performance.
The financial award is based on financial targets set at the beginning of each year as part of the annual budgeting process. The personal award is based on individual priorities set at the beginning of each year as part of the performance management process.
An STI payment is triggered when the financial achievement percentage of the operating unit is 86% or more. When performance is below 86% financial achievement, there is no STI payment.
The payout is based on a multiplier approach that leads to significant upside opportunity in terms of outperformance and avoids over-rewarding on personal performance when Syngenta does not meet the targets on financial performance.
The Long Term Incentive Plan is a three-year cash incentive plan aligning participants behind common performance measures and our shareholder’s interest. The purpose of the plan is to:
- Reward leadership and outperformance by providing a cash-based incentive that links participants’ compensation to the delivery of company-wide performance measures.
- Focus participants on sustainable value creation.
- Reinforce collective leadership and an enterprise mindset.
- Motivate, engage and retain participants.
The vesting of the awards at the end of the three-year vesting period is dependent on the achievement of pre-determined financial and non-financial targets.
Under the Long-Term Incentive Plan the Board’s Compensation Committee assesses sustainability taking into account criteria such as freedom-to-operate and success with product-registrations. Based on the assessment, the Committee may adjust the overall achievement percentage up or down.
The Board of Directors acts as custodian of all business sustainability matters, reviews business sustainability-related actions proposed by the Executive Team and monitors the effectiveness of the implementation of sustainability-related internal policies. The Executive Team directs business sustainability-related standards, strategy, objectives and partnerships. It reviews and advises on the effectiveness of implementation of internal policies.
The Chief Sustainability Officer, who is part of the Crop Protection Leadership Team and reports to the CEO, leads the Business Sustainability function. This function coordinates and channels sustainability initiatives, performance management and policy engagements. It includes global, regional, territory and country representatives to ensure alignment across the organization.
Syngenta has established a company-wide data collection system, which monitors and reports on performance against agreed metrics. Everyone at Syngenta is expected to act in a manner that supports our Code of Conduct and our sustainability commitments. We have taken the step to link our senior management remuneration with non-financial performance associated to the fulfillment of sustainability objectives.
Every leader and employee is responsible for managing risks and taking accountability for their actions. Business continuity plans define roles, responsibilities and ity in the event of emergency situations or disruptions. Such plans include feedback loops, making sure lessons learned are an integral part of Syngenta’s risk management culture.
Risk management in Syngenta is largely integrated into normal management processes. Its underlying principles include:
- Identifying risks which may harm the delivery of the strategy and operational objectives
- Evaluating and assessing the risks with focus on key and critical risks
- Defining appropriate plans to mitigate the key risks
- Preventing and limiting disruptions to critical business processes and activities such as in case of emergencies and crises
- Monitoring and reviewing risk profiles on a regular basis
- Communicating the risk profiles and status of risk activities as agreed by the leadership teams and the business
Syngenta uses an integrated risk management solution to support its risk management process globally.
Our Board of Directors and the Syngenta Executive Team (SET) have overall responsibility for risk management and receive regular updates of the status of our key risks across the group. Compliance and Risk Management at Syngenta is overseen by the Core Compliance Group (CCG) which is chaired by the Head of Group Compliance. The CCG includes the Head of Group Risk Management, the Head of Financial Compliance, the Head of Internal Audit, the Head of Health Safety & Environment, and other senior leaders from internal compliance functions. The Group Risk Management team is responsible for ensuring that our approach is robust and that our risk management processes are embedded across the company.
We include environmental and social aspects in our risk management processes. These are considered at a Group level for strategic business decisions, and are also included as part of local risk management processes. Environmental and social risks include:
- Adverse weather, climate and geographical conditions as well as natural hazards
- Effects of not meeting stakeholder expectations
- Environmental damages and liabilities
- Adverse macro-economic situations and population developments
- National or regional insecurity.
Our Code of Conduct is a key part of our compliance framework. It demonstrates our commitment to build and maintain trust in Syngenta and to integrate business, social and environmental responsibilities in everything we do.
The Syngenta Group Code of Conduct was launched in June 2020 and is based on the Syngenta Code of Conduct developed in consultation with leading business ethics and human rights organizations such as the Institute for Business Ethics, the International Business Leaders Forum, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.
The Code covers the following key topics: law, business integrity, society, people and science, products, and property rights.
The Code of Conduct sets out clearly the standards different stakeholders can expect from Syngenta on a range of relevant and important issues. The Code is supported by detailed policies, standards and guidelines such as:
- Anti-Fraud Policy – defines the way we prevent or report any form of fraud (or attempted fraud) across our business
- Anti-Bribery Policy – establishes our approach to engaging in ethical business negotiations across all levels of our organization
- Securities Trading Policy – defines the rules and procedures associated with trading while in possession of material information that is not publicly available
- Gifts and Entertainment Policy – provides clear guidance to our people on their responsibilities regarding corporate gifts and entertainment
- Competition Law Policy – defines the principles of antitrust and competition law and establishes our expectations for ensuring these principles are upheld
- HSE Policy and Standards – set out the standards of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) expected throughout Syngenta, and outlines what needs to be done to achieve them
- Syngenta Labor Standards – define our approach to labor rights, including contractual working conditions, freedom of association and collective bargaining. All of our policies are binding for Syngenta employees and external contractors and stakeholders who engage with Syngenta.
Everyone at Syngenta is expected to know, understand and apply our Code of Conduct without exception. All employees receive a copy of the Code and we offer discussion sessions with leaders and online training to help employees deepen their understanding. The Code is also embedded into our daily employee interactions – managers must ensure that employees understand the Code, providing training and support as required.
We expect every employee to take personal accountability for upholding the Code and suppliers are required to demonstrate compliance through their own policies or through contractual obligations to uphold the Code.
Compliance with the Code is the accountability of territory, regional and functional leadership teams to ensure a holistic review of compliance and risks in Syngenta.
We also have a Head of Group Compliance at global level and a team of regional compliance officers who are responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring our corporate compliance framework and implementation tools. The compliance officers work directly with managers around the world to ensure consistent implementation of the Code as well as other policies and guidelines.
We encourage and expect employees to report any suspected breaches of the Code of Conduct and we take all reports of potential violations seriously.
Employees are encouraged to report any breach or suspected breach, of the Code of Conduct to their line manager, a compliance officer or local HR/Legal/Finance teams or through our confidential compliance helpline. This helpline is accessible on our website and can also be used by our suppliers and contractors.
The helpline is available 24-hours a day and in several languages. Reports can also be made online via our intranet. We take every concern seriously and investigate each one in line with our policies. We do not tolerate any form of retaliation against an employee who has reported a suspected compliance violation in good faith, nor will we tolerate any deliberately abusive accusations.
We publish the number of concerns reported through our compliance helpline annually as well as the number of leaders engaged in leader-led compliance sessions. In these sessions managers discuss with their teams relevant compliance topics and encourage people to speak up if they have concerns.
The conduct of our third party suppliers and contractors is monitored through regular risk assessments and audits. We publish the results of these processes annually.
Syngenta may engage in political advocacy and debate on subjects that advance the company's goals, support our customers, partners and industry, and improve the communities where we work and live.
We maintain strict internal control of lobbying activities and conduct them in full compliance with local law and guided by honesty, completeness, respect, accuracy of information and transparency.
Any lobbying activities carried out by appointed external agencies or through our industry associations must be guided by the same principles that apply for Syngenta.
At Syngenta, we are committed to conducting business with the highest standards of integrity and responsibility, and to preventing any form of public and private bribery in our organization. Our Code of Conduct and our Anti-Bribery Policy demonstrate our commitment to corporate responsibility, help to foster an ethical company culture, and build confidence among our external stakeholders in the way we do business.
Our Code of Conduct sets out our commitment to comply with all labor laws, national and international codes and conventions, and to uphold the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Core Conventions. Syngenta is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, endorsing the 10 universal principles covering human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.
Syngenta is a member of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights -- a coalition of companies working together to develop good practices and sharing experiences as well as outreach in line with the Institute for Human Rights and Business, which is a global center of excellence and expertise on the relationship between business and human rights.
Our Code of Conduct, which employees, contractors and suppliers must adhere to, ensures that everyone working for Syngenta respects human rights. It was developed in consultation with the Institute for Business Ethics and the International Business Leaders Forum and informed by a risk analysis conducted by the Danish Institute for Human Rights. The results of the risk analysis led to the development of policies covering a number of labor, product, community and security issues.
Syngenta promotes employee empowerment and human rights protection and seeks dialogue with our employees and their representatives (Works Councils, Labor Unions) based on our labor standards.
Our minimum requirements on labor and human rights are integrated in all supplier contracts and we work with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to monitor and improve labor standards on seed farms around the world which are part of our supply chain. FLA assessments cover issues such as child labor, health and safety, and workers' rights. Visit our Good Growth Plan commitment to find out more about how we help people stay safe and healthy and report on progress.
As a member of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, we are working with other companies and organizations to ensure our approach remains current and understand how best to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Our business also has an important contribution to make to support human rights through the role of our products in improving food security, access to water, farmers’ livelihoods and rural development.
As part of The Good Growth Plan, we have committed to strive for fair labor conditions throughout our entire supply chain network. Every year we contract with thousands of seed growers across over 30 countries to produce our seeds. The complexity of this supply chain poses particular challenges.
Since 2004, we have worked with the Fair Labor Association to set up supplier labor codes, training programs and monitoring protocols for our seed supply farms. The program was initially rolled-out in several key countries where labor rights were identified to be at high-risk either due to local labor regulations, labor market situation, or local farming practices. Currently, the program covers almost all our seed suppliers worldwide.
In our flowers business, most of our own and third party commercial flower farms hold a GLOBALG.A.P. certification. Many also underwent a GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice (GRASP). This complementary module assesses social practices on the farm, addressing specific aspects of workers’ health, safety and welfare
We have been auditing chemical suppliers’ compliance with health, safety, quality and labor standards for many years. Having analyzed the sustainability risk for each supplier, we are working to bring all those in material risk categories into our Supplier Sustainability Program. In 2015, we joined the Together for Sustainability initiative (TfS). This brings together international chemical companies to share joint supplier audits on health, safety, environmental, social and ethical issues in line with the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, Responsible Care® and the International Labor Organization. This enables us to reach deeper into our supply chain and to raise the bar for suppliers. It will also free up resources so that we can conduct `deep dive´ assessments of our strategically most important suppliers.
We use animal studies only when necessary and aim to develop alternative techniques that replace and reduce the use of animals. However, in many countries, legislation requires animal testing to ensure products are safe to humans and the environment. We have no laboratories that undertake animal studies, but we do sub-contract such work. We only use contract laboratories that meet the highest standards for animal care, and we audit them to ensure these standards are consistently applied.
The "Syngenta Animal Welfare Policy" sets standards that apply to animal studies carried out by third party contractors on behalf of Syngenta. The Syngenta Animal Ethical Review Committee (SAERC) is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and mandated legal and regulatory requirements.
We also require that Syngenta managers initiating animal work sign an annual Letter of Assurance that the Policy and Commitments have been complied with in the facilities performing the studies. This letter provides an assurance that both the facilities used and the study protocols are compliant.
We expect our contract laboratories to have management systems in place that are consistent with our Policy and Commitments to the care and use of animals in research and development.
We expect our contract laboratories to have management systems in place that are consistent with our policies and commitment to the care and use of animals in research and development. We conduct audits of third parties to monitor compliance. We report on the number of management system audits conducted in our Sustainable Business Report (p. 51).
We engage with stakeholders on a variety of issues to help us shape our understanding of the corporate responsibility issues we must address every day. We communicate with different types of stakeholders in different ways. For example:
Growers – we use our marketing and sales practices to ensure that growers can get the full benefits of our products by improving yields and crop quality.
Industry – we engage with peers through industry organizations.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – we partner with NGOs on specific issues.
Investors – we communicate and hold regular meetings with investors.
Employees – we communicate regularly with employees and use local workshops and surveys to gauge their views.
Governments – we put forward our position on relevant issues and seek dialogue on those issues.
The Good Growth Plan exemplifies our engagement with stakeholders. In 2013, we commissioned a global research study involving over 7,500 people in 13 countries to assess their perceptions on the topic of food security and the challenges of agriculture. We listened to stakeholders and their concerns about our business, agriculture and the environment. As a result, we developed six commitments and continuously seek to work in partnership with governments, farmers, NGOs, international organizations and academics to take our contribution to a new level.
In 2018, we undertook three months of consultation with stakeholders from around the world in an effort to build a shared vision for the future of sustainable agriculture. Through listening and dialogue, we aim to better understand the role we can play and the commitments needed from all sides to help make a shared vision reality. As a result, we committed to accelerate our innovation to address the increasing challenges faced by farmers around the world and society’s changing views on agriculture technology, making a step change in agriculture sustainability.
Syngenta has been a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) since 2009. The UNGC is the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative. We have committed to aligning our operations with the 10 principles set out by the Compact, for issues concerning human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Our Sustainable Business Report serves as our Communication on Progress (COP).
Our Code of Conduct establishes our commitment to comply with all labor laws, national and international codes and conventions, and to uphold the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization’s Core Conventions.
Syngenta also adheres to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Through the WBCSD and CropLife International, Syngenta engages with CBD to support the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, with a focus on monitoring and reporting.
In support of Fair Labor Association (FLA) – expanding our existing partnership, Together for Sustainability (TfS) for chemical supply chain management, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on access to technology and services for smallholders, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on a soil leadership academy.
Syngenta contributes to the economies and communities of the countries where we operate in many ways. The biggest contribution we make to communities is through our products and services which help improve food security for many millions of people. We aim to increase the value that we share with communities by offering training and advice that help millions of farmers to improve productivity, increase resource efficiency, and earn a better living. As our business continues to grow, we also contribute through direct and indirect employment.
We also support local initiatives that address environmental issues, improve access to technology, increase health and nutritional awareness, and enhance science and education. We do this through direct financial contributions, in-kind contributions and staff time spent on sponsorship, donation and community engagement programs.
Our policy on charitable contributions sets out a global framework to ensure consistency in our approach and ensure we maximize the impact of our sponsorships and donations. We mainly focus on water efficiency, land use efficiency, biodiversity conservation, health and nutrition, and science and education. We also support sponsorships and donations to culture and art, society, and sport to improve our engagement with local communities.
We also make donations to humanitarian organizations to support communities that have been affected by disasters. Our contributions target two key focus areas - health and nutrition, and the rebuilding of productive agricultural systems.
Our community investment programs focus on supporting the communities where we operate, as well as investing to promote long-term development. Our contributions include charitable donations, sponsorship, or in-kind investment through our people and products.
We focus our efforts in areas directly relevant to our business, where we can use our expertise to maximize support. These include natural resource efficiency, biodiversity conservation, knowledge transfer to farmers in emerging and developing markets, health and nutrition, and science and education. We adapt our approach to suit local needs and engage on those topics relevant to our stakeholders.
Based in Basel, Switzerland, the Foundation is a non-profit organization established by Syngenta under Swiss law. The Foundation can access company expertise but is legally independent and has its own Board. While Syngenta works with commercial growers, the Foundation supports pre-commercial growers in developing countries.
Read more about the Syngenta Foundation
After Syngenta filed for voluntary delisting, Syngenta shares and Syngenta American Depositary shares were delisted from SIX Swiss Exchange or NYSE respectively in early January 2018. As a private company, Syngenta is not entitled to participate in certain sustainability indexes.
We continue to participate in other relevant indexes and rankings, such as the Access to Seeds Index and CDP, answering questions from stakeholders and making material information available on our website, news center, media channels and in our Sustainable Business Report. We also continue to engage with ESG rating agencies.
Talent attraction and retention
The passion and diversity of our people are distinctive assets and key elements of our brand and culture. Syngenta is not a place where simply doing a job is enough. It is vital that everyone has clarity about their own contribution and how we work together to achieve our goals. Our environment is intense and dynamic, and we all need to be adaptable to change.
Our ambition and strategy are directed by our purpose, bringing plant potential to life. It inspires and guides our work. Our values articulate what we regard as being important and help us make decisions. Through our values, we express who we are and what we stand for:
- Passion for customers
- Long view
- Growth for all
- Determined execution
- How matters
We consider celebrating and sharing our achievements as an important element of our culture. In 2017, we launched a new global employee recognition program called Val-You that enables employees to recognize other colleagues for making important contributions that drive our business performance, while bringing our values to life.
We need to attract, retain and motivate a workforce that will deliver the innovation required to grow more from less. We do this by taking an open and proactive approach to recruitment, and offering attractive development opportunities to ensure we retain talent.
Available positions are advertised globally, and through local internet sites, and we use social media to promote opportunities as widely as we can. We engage graduates through job fairs and career days, and offer graduate programs throughout the business and across our global operations.
Our performance management and talent programs focus on defining goals that are right for the individual and our organization. We have corporate goals, against which all team and individual goals must align. We encourage ongoing dialogue between employees and line managers, by reinforcing a culture of continuous feedback. In 2018, we launched a new approach to ongoing dialogue to ensure we continuously raise the performance of our people while providing them differentiated development paths. These dialogue sessions between employee and line manager, called Pause2Talk, are forward-looking and help employees understand how their individual contribution helps to raise the company’s performance.
Our talent programs assess an employee’s potential and help determine their development needs and career planning requirements. We focus on the individual, ensuring that each person develops both personally and professionally in line with their own needs and aspirations, and those of the organization.
In 2019, our employee turnover rate was 9.5%. This figure includes voluntary and involuntary leavers and those employees leaving the organization due to restructuring. The proportion of voluntary leavers was 6.4%. Our leadership teams regularly review retention rates and we focus on employee engagement, development opportunities, and offering competitive incentive packages to help us retain the best people.
We maintain a formal performance management process, which aligns individual, team and organizational goals, improves performance, and supports individual development.
Through this process, we support personal development and recognize individual contribution. The process is owned by line managers with support from our Human Resources teams. All employees are expected to take personal accountability for their performance and development using our framework of setting goals, planning appropriate development opportunities and assessing performance at year-end. This framework is also linked to our Short-Term Incentive program.
The performance criteria are based on an individual’s contribution throughout the year. The contribution of each individual is recognized by assessing the “What”, which describes the tangible deliverables linked to individual and team objectives, and the “How”, which describes the behaviors and ways of working in alignment with our values and leadership model.
Syngenta developed The Good Growth Plan as a measure for the sustainability of its strategy. All employees, including senior executives, are subject to a formal annual performance management process, which aligns individual, team and organizational objectives. Active participation in The Good Growth Plan is bringing the concept of sustainability to life across the company and is heightening awareness of the importance of each individual’s work.
The Long-Term Incentive Plan for the Executives is subject to secondary performance measures. Key elements in this are performance measures related to The Good Growth Plan.
At Syngenta, our Employee Value Proposition (EVP) sets out what we stand for and offer as an employer, and what we expect from current and potential employees. Syngenta offers a combination of monetary and non-monetary rewards. Our compensation principles provide a transparent, performance-oriented and market-competitive compensation framework for all employees, including senior executives. The non-monetary elements allow Syngenta to differentiate itself from competitors and play a key role in attracting potential and retaining current employees. We offer attractive career development programs to allow our people to grow personally and professionally and a stimulating and collaborative work environment where diverse backgrounds are valued and talents are nurtured.
At the same time, we expect from our employees to proactively plan and manage their career development in close collaboration with their line manager. Our employees are also expected to contribute to the success of the company through their open participation, co-creation and innovation.
The EVP serves to strengthen Syngenta’s position as an employer in a competitive marketplace. It supports our culture and enables us to attract, motivate, engage and retain highly qualified employees to deliver the strategic plans and goals of the company.
Through a combination of global and local programs, we recognize employee contribution through incentives, development programs, as well as through our cultural programs. One example of the latter is the Syngenta Awards which gives teams around the world the opportunity to gain recognition for particular projects that bring our values to life. More than 6,700 stories have been shared since the Awards began in 2005, demonstrating innovation that achieved major breakthroughs, determination to overcome challenges, or care and concern for the world and the environment.
We reward our employees based on their performance and in line with local market conditions in each country where we operate. Our compensation system links compensation to both individual performance and the financial success of our company. The compensation package we offer includes:
- Fixed compensation – base salary
- Variable compensation – short-term incentive plans and, for selected leaders, long-term incentive plans
Employees are subject to a formal annual performance management process. Annual performance ratings influence both the annual base salary and variable compensation elements of our overall compensation structure. Our performance management system also emphasizes the need for coaching and development alongside appraisal.
Variable compensation, in the form of short- and long-term incentive programs, is determined by the level and scope of the individual’s job, as well as the external market value of the respective job, the location, business performance and individual performance. Both the short-term and long-term incentives are paid in cash.
Benefits for our employees include pensions, insurance and healthcare plans that are designed to provide a reasonable level of security for our employees and their dependents in respect to retirement, health, disability and death in service. The level of benefits is subject to country-specific laws, regulations and market practice.
Syngenta regularly measures employee engagement, well-being and other indices through a comprehensive online survey, called Pulse Survey. It can be complemented by subject specific surveys throughout the year, called Quick Pulse surveys. This approach allows every employee to share their views anonymously and give leaders actionable insights.
We actively focus on developing engagement activities to create links between our strategy and employees’ individual contribution. This includes:
- Local events such as site town-hall meetings, leadership meetings and focus groups, which provide targeted feedback and insights into wider issues at local and regional levels.
- Worldwide leader-led meetings, which provide employees the opportunity to learn about our strategy, culture and values, and offer them a forum to engage with leaders and voice their opinion.
- Leader breakfast sessions at our head office in Basel, which provide a relaxed and informal environment where employees can talk to members of our Executive Team and senior leaders and discuss hot topics, ask questions and take part in active discussions.
- The performance management process also provides formal opportunities to create links with our strategy and employees’ contribution, aligning individual, team and organizational goals.
- We have a global employee recognition program called Val-You that enables employees to recognize other colleagues across the company for making important contributions that drive our business performance, while bringing our values to life.
- We provide an internal social media channel for employees to share best practice and connect widely across the organization. It also gives leaders a new way to get feedback, and to recognize achievements and celebrate success.
The output of these engagement activities is then used to inform our strategies – for example a focus on cultural issues led to further developments in our values and leadership model. Our change management processes also help us collect employee feedback and engagement during any periods of change in the business.
Diversity and inclusion
We value diversity and inclusion as reflected in our corporate values and leadership commitments. Embracing the unique perspectives and capabilities of our employees is helping to catalyze innovation, maximize performance and create business value.
A diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace environment are enablers of our ambition to be the most collaborative and trusted team in agriculture, providing leading seeds and crop protection innovations to enhance the prosperity of farmers, wherever they are, in an environmentally sustainable way. Our employees reflect the diversity of our customers, the markets where we operate and the communities which we serve.
We assess our diversity and inclusion progress through related metrics and our employee surveys. Relevant key performance indicators - such as the proportion of women and number of nationalities represented in senior management - are published in our Sustainable Business Report (p. 49).
Learning and development
We encourage personal and professional growth through a culture of continuous learning. Our global reach and the wide range of diverse careers we offer provide employees with the opportunity to excel and fulfill their potential. Individual employees produce personal development plans suited to their own career aspirations and developmental requirements. These development plans are discussed and agreed with line managers and included in the development and planning part of the annual performance planning process.
We place great emphasis on developing our leadership and people management skills. Working with global external partners we offer world-class development pathways for leaders based on training, virtual learning and coaching experiences. Rigorous assessment and feedback help leaders understand the requirements of their role and specific development priorities. There is customized development for our most promising talent across global, regional and territory leadership populations. Our learning and development teams are constantly working on new development experiences to build the capabilities required by our business strategy and industry. For example, our MyCrop training program ensures employees understand farming requirements from the perspective of the grower.
We also offer specialist training programs for key business functions. For example, our Commercial Excellence team designs programs; self, virtual or face-to-face learning to provide a deep understanding and application of concepts relating to sales, marketing, pricing, integrated business planning and customer operations. The ultimate objective is to support the Syngenta strategy and unleash the full potential of our people.
Our approach to leadership development recognizes the importance of tailoring it to the scope and complexity of specific leadership roles.
We believe that leadership development happens in many different ways – through learning from role-specific experiences and challenges, from feedback, coaching or mentoring from peers and other senior leaders. This development is supported by our formal Global Leadership Development Programs.
The Global Leadership Development Programs consist of a series of distinct developmental pathways based on the level of leadership role. For example, all first line managers are offered to participate in a 24-month development pathway including 360° feedback assessment, training, coaching and on-line learning support on key areas of management. Senior managers and Executive leaders are also offered customized development tailored to their role. We also have specialized programs for emerging leadership talent designed to accelerate their readiness for the next stage of their career.
Health, safety and wellbeing
We care about the health and safety of our people and we seek to maintain an industry-leading approach to employee health and safety. Our values and Code of Conduct demonstrate our strong commitment to the health and safety of our employees, customers and the communities in which we operate.
We foster a culture where everyone is expected to take personal responsibility for their own health and safety. Our robust global health and safety policy and standards are communicated through local training programs at all our sites. We have a Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) management system in place and we monitor performance across all our operations. Each site reports health and safety performance on a monthly basis through our Health and Safety Reporting System.
All our sites are required to report performance on a monthly basis through our Health and Safety Reporting System. Key performance indicators include near-miss occurrences, non-injury incidents, injury and illness rates, as well as first aid cases and cases related to illnesses and stress. We are committed to continuously invest to keep our recordable injury and illness rate (IIR) below our target of 0.25.
We report our health and safety performance for both permanent employees and contractors under our direct supervision in a consolidated way. We believe that, from a health and safety perspective, there is no difference between the two groups. For more information see our Sustainable Business Report (p. 49).
Contractors managed directly by Syngenta (such as security services or contracted employees) are expected to uphold our policies on health and safety in the same way as our employees are. We also have policies to ensure that work carried out by any contractors is conducted with proper regard to the health and safety of workers and others. We provide relevant information and ensure that adequate management control systems are in place. We report our health and safety performance for permanent employees and contractors in a consolidated way, as we believe that, from a health and safety perspective, there is no difference between the two. For more information see our Sustainable Business Report (p. 36).
Contractors managed through third parties are subject to our global requirements for suppliers which include health and safety. We also conduct and report on our health, safety, environment and quality assessments of chemical suppliers and warehouse and logistics service providers globally. For more information on these assessments and our approach to responsible supply chain, see our Sustainable Business Report (p. 30).
Our people’s passion and diversity are core assets and key elements of our brand. Respect for their health and wellbeing is a core value and our success is dependent on it.
Our commitment to the health of our people is an important part of our approach to corporate responsibility, and supports our ‘health through action’ value. Our Code of Conduct, supporting corporate policies, and codes of practice are clear on the importance of providing employees with a safe working environment.
We offer a range of wellbeing programs tailored to local needs, including sports centers, healthy options at staff restaurants, health checks, family counseling services and access to legal advice.
Supply chain management
We strive for an end-to-end integrated approach to designing and operating our supply chains that combines our own internal manufacturing network with an extensive supplier base to ensure our supply chain objectives match our commercial product strategies. The products and services we procure from suppliers are divided into two categories:
- Direct - the supply of all materials that are required in the manufacture or supply of the products we sell
- Indirect – the goods and services that are required to support our operations (including professional services, information systems, marketing, engineering, waste and utilities)
Clear policies define the principles that guide all our procurement activities around the world. Our objectives are to ensure that goods and services are acquired under the best conditions to support our business and that our high standards on corporate responsibility are met. We ensure that our suppliers, and Syngenta employees engaging with suppliers, understand the high standards we expect on issues such as labor practices, business ethics, health, safety and environment as set out in our Code of Conduct.
We monitor our suppliers' performance through audits and assessments to ensure compliance with our standards and identify opportunities for improvement. As a member of the Together for Sustainability Initiative, we have partnered with others within the chemical industry to try to do this in the most efficient way for suppliers. Employees engaging with suppliers undergo training on ethical procurement practices as well as specific training on topics such as fraud awareness.
Our aim is for Syngenta to be the customer of choice for our key suppliers. We use our assessment processes and regular, open dialogue with suppliers to help us develop strong positive relationships in the market place.
Read more on Together for Sustainability
Our supplier relationship management (SRM) approach enables us to manage suppliers effectively, promoting strong governance practices, while enabling us to focus on our most critical suppliers to maximize value and reduce risks in our supply chain.
The SRM approach encompasses a clear strategy and process, defined supplier segmentation, clear roles and accountabilities, effective tools and resources, and a commitment to continuous improvement from Syngenta and our suppliers. It enables us to identify our most important suppliers from a supply chain that includes more than 1,000 global tier 1 suppliers for active ingredients, raw materials, intermediates and co-formulants.
The process begins with an analysis of our supplier base using filters such as spend, business impact, and single source situations. To segment and identify key suppliers each organization is then rated on a number of criteria such as technical fit, operational fit, location, sustainability (environmental, social, ethical) and quality standards, financial health of the organization, strategic alignment with our business, trust, and people retention and management.
We establish continuous improvement plans and risk management dashboards for all key suppliers, as well as providing additional management support where appropriate, such as assignment of supplier leads and key account managers. Additional support for suppliers can include HSE awareness training or upstream sourcing assistance.
Syngenta benefits from strong relationships with key suppliers and we often strive to form strategic partnerships with suppliers for multiple sourcing projects.
We use a number of tools to manage risks in the various tiers of our supply chain. These instruments allow us to assess risks associated with individual suppliers and with the sourcing of individual products. A view of the risks per supply chain is considered in some detail in order that appropriate mitigation actions can be put into place.
Choosing responsible partners to work with is part of our commitment to be a responsible business. We set global requirements for suppliers on health, safety, environment, labor and human rights, and we carry out rigorous assessments and audits to monitor compliance and drive improvement.
We expect our suppliers to uphold the standards set out in our Code of Conduct. This sets out clear expectations on environmental and social requirements. Our procurement policies ensure that these principles are put into practice across our supplier base. Suppliers are required to achieve compliance either by demonstrating that they have a binding document in place comparable to the Syngenta Code of Conduct or by making our Code of Conduct part of the contractual agreement.
We also expect all suppliers to uphold our minimum requirements on labor standards.
We have a long tradition of assessing suppliers’ environmental and social performance and working with them to improve standards.
In 2015, we joined the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative. The TfS members work jointly on supplier audits and assessments on health, safety and the environment, as well as social and ethical issues. The TfS framework supports the principles of the UN Global Compact, responsible Care and the International Labor Organization. By auditing together, TfS enables us to focus on raising standards for our suppliers with greater efficiency.
We also conduct additional, more in depth audits focused on health, safety and environment (HSE) at selected chemical suppliers and formulation, fill and packaging suppliers. Sites are selected for audits based on a number of criteria - including the strategic importance and any likely risks associated with that site. Suppliers are rated on their performance and receive recommendations detailing any areas for improvement. We only work with a supplier once a minimum HSE standard is achieved, and failure to make improvements can lead to the cancellation of any contractual arrangements.
In China and in India, we have launched our Process Safety Management Program. It involves training and auditing of key chemical suppliers handling high hazard products or processes, with a focus on driving their capability improvement in this critical area.
Audits are also completed at warehouse and logistics service providers. These sites are selected based on HSE record, hazard of materials to be stored or transported, and their importance to our business. The audits are carried out by an independent, competent professional against the standards defined in Syngenta's codes of practice. Gaps are identified and if required an action plan is put in place.
We also monitor our seed supply farms to ensure compliance with labor standards (see the questions below for more detail).
Syngenta tests physiological, purity, and seed health aspects relevant to the crop and legal requirements. The rules of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and the rules of the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) for North America are the general guidelines for physiological testing. For seed health the appropriate standards are the National Seed Health System (NSHS; USA), NAKTUINBOUW (European accreditation body) and the standards of the International Seed Health Initiative (ISHI).
Where a country of sale has no specific requirements, Syngenta adheres to internal test protocols as a minimum standard. These protocols are defined in our Quality Management System that covers all activities to direct, control and coordinate quality standards. The rules set forth are translated into our work instructions and procedures for testing and ensuring seed quality. The quality of our products gives confidence to our customers, builds reputation and enables our business growth.
The Syngenta Code of Conduct sets out our commitment to build and maintain trust in Syngenta and to integrate our business, social and environmental responsibilities into everything we do. We expect our seed suppliers to live up to the same standards we set ourselves. In The Good Growth Plan, we have committed to look after every worker by striving for fair labor conditions throughout our entire supply chain network by 2020.
The Syngenta Fair Labor Program helps to further strengthening our relationship with our seed growing partners. The program promotes decent working conditions related to health and safety, child labor, employment relationship, compensation, working hours, freedom of association and collective bargaining, harassment and abuse, forced labor and nondiscrimination. The program is well established in 98% of our total seed supply network.
Syngenta local teams periodically monitor our supply chain for compliance. We work with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), which provides independent assurance that the processes associated with our Syngenta Fair Labor Program are robust and comply with their standards of fair labor and responsible sourcing. To provide this assurance, FLA representatives visit farms, review documentation and interview workers. Each visit lasts approximately three days and is undertaken during peak production periods when the risk of non-compliance is greatest.
Customer relationship management
We put the grower at the heart of everything we do. We look at business decisions and processes through their eyes, enabling us to respond to the needs of our customers. Our approach to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is established globally and delivered locally within each country by our commercial teams – this provides consistency for our customers and ensures our vision is translated effectively into all of our customer interactions.
There are a number of key considerations that steer our CRM activities – all are focused on identifying customer needs and adding value through the products and services we provide. We look at what the market requires and, in particular, what growers and their customers need and demand. We strive to find innovative ways to engage with customers to respond quickly with information and robust solutions.
Customer satisfaction is important to us and we gather feedback directly from customers in all regions where we operate. We monitor a number of different metrics but focus on overall satisfaction at regional or country level to understand how well our products and services are received.
We provide a wide variety of information to our customers. Our products often differ by country and we adapt our approach to respond to local needs and requirements. Country websites provide extensive product information including our Material Safety Data Sheets (see US and UK examples). Through their daily interactions with customers, our sales teams also provide product information and advice on benefits and safe use and can learn about the challenges they are facing. We also have call centers to provide our customers with easy, toll-free access to comprehensive advice about our entire product range.
We make it a priority to create an environment where employees feel secure, have peace of mind and can perform at their best. Security risks include risks to the security of our people, assets, products, and information. We manage these risks through:
People protection – we take steps to protect employees by advising them of significant security risks when they are working or traveling, particularly in high-risk countries.
Product security – we protect our products by enhancing confidence in them and taking action against infringers, so as to sustain our market share and brand reputation.
Asset protection – we protect Syngenta's physical assets and critical third party locations against internal and external threats such as burglary, robbery, theft, and sabotage.
Information security – we regard information as a key corporate asset that must be protected against theft, misuse, leakage and loss, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.
Our Security Policy defines the basic principles of Syngenta's approach to security. It sets out our expectations for the company and defines what managers and employees need to do to meet them. Our aim is to minimize internal and external security risks associated with all company activities, from product invention to delivery and beyond.
A number of detailed Security Code of Practice documents support the policy. Through these we provide further detail on specific security requirements for our people, assets, products and information.
We comply with laws and regulations and seek to fully consider security in all activities through effective risk management. Our aim is to create a security-conscious culture in which all employees take personal responsibility for preventing security incidents. We rigorously and ethically investigate all security incidents.
Our security practices are developed and implemented using an approach based on intelligence and risk assessment. We make security a key consideration in our everyday work to help us manage continually changing risks.
As a global organization, we are exposed to a significant and complex range of potential risks – from cybercrime to conflicts arising from political instability. We aim to proactively assess, identify and address emerging security risks before they become an issue.
Our security processes focus on sites with potential risk exposures for people, products, assets and/or information. These sites include production, R&D or commercial facilities, and are evaluated to determine the level of security risk and any mitigation measures needed. Our security processes also extend to third-party supplier sites and warehouses.
We have set clear responsibilities for employees, managers and security professionals. Employees must act responsibly to minimize security risks to our people, assets, products and information. Managers are accountable for the security in their area of responsibility and are expected to lead by example. Our team of security professionals define, maintain, deploy, support and monitor security practices at both corporate and local levels.
Under our Security 360° program, we undertake security assessments across strategically important sites. We monitor the results of these assessments and publish performance annually through our Annual Report. If required, Security Improvement Action Plans are developed. The implementation of these plans is then monitored and reported internally through a defined process to mitigate the identified risks.
Counterfeiting of our products can be hazardous to users, the public and the environment. We track and externally report the number of product security cases and the tonnes of suspect crop protection and seed product seized by ities.
The majority of our security personnel are unarmed – in accordance with the identified level of risk. However, we maintain armed security personnel in a small number of sites globally where security risks have been identified as particularly high due to frequent instances of violent crime or terrorism, or where this is legally required. Our primary focus is always the safety of our people. The arming of security officers follows well-defined rules, governed by a Corporate Security Code of Practice written in line with recognized best practice in the field of security management and human rights, and in accordance with local law.
Our Corporate Security teams have been trained on potential human rights concerns and best practices related to security management and key international human rights codes – including international humanitarian laws, the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
We employ third party security service providers at around 160 of our sites. All of them have to meet our requirements on human rights, and all new contracts include a requirement to operate in accordance with the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers, to which many of our contractors are already signatories.
We conduct risk assessments at all sites employing armed security officers to confirm whether carrying of arms is appropriate.
Find out more about our Human Rights practices.
Membership of the Voluntary Principles Initiative is restricted to the extractive sector – including oil, gas and mining. Although companies in our sector are unable to sign-up to this, we use the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights as an important reference document. It is used by Syngenta Security Management to help ensure that third party security services act in accordance with best practice.
In 2007, a former Syngenta R&D site in Cascavel (Brazil) was illegally occupied by several hundred protesters. A confrontation occurred when a number of guards employed by the security company returned to the site without Syngenta’s ization several hours after the illegal occupation began, tragically resulting in the fatalities of a guard and a protester.
We are saddened by the incident and condemn the use of violence. Syngenta is not responsible for the confrontation which occurred at the site or the ensuing events and was absolved of any criminal liability in the police investigation and action by the public prosecutor which followed the events. We are in fundamental disagreement with the decision by the 1st Civil Court of Cascavel within the Civil Lawsuit filed against Syngenta as the company cannot be liable based on the alleged facts. We have appealed this decision.