Bees and other pollinators are essential to much of the world’s food production; in fact, bees pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food. Yet pollinator populations are in great decline, due, in large part, to the large amounts of pesticides used in agriculture. A recent study shows that U.S. agriculture has become 48 times more toxic to bees and other insects over the past 25 years. In addition to the negative impact on pollinators, excessive use of agrochemicals can have detrimental effects on human and environmental health.
To help address this growing issue, Mercy Investment Services has partnered with the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) and Friends of the Earth to create the Initiative for Pesticide Use Reduction and Safer Chemicals Management. With more than 40 participating investors representing $444 billion in assets under management, the goal of the initiative is to engage 13 of the largest publicly traded grocery retailers in the U.S. on the issue of pesticide use in the agricultural supply chain. Using the Chemical Footprint Project’s framework, the campaign is asking companies to adopt and implement a process of safer chemical management that can be applied to different types of agrochemicals. By conducting a chemical footprint of the pesticides used in their agricultural supply chains, companies can identify harmful pesticides, set reduction targets, and develop safer and more sustainable alternatives, thus mitigating risks and protecting human and environmental health. To demonstrate their commitment to safer chemical management, the initiative also asks companies to become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project.
As part of this initiative, Mercy Investment Services is engaging Amazon and Kroger on the use of pesticides in their agricultural supply chains and how they can expand their respective chemical and pollinator protection frameworks to better address impacts from the use of chemicals of concern in their operations and supply chains.