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. In addition to the negative impact on pollinators, excessive use of pesticides, also known as agrochemicals, can also have detrimental effects on human health, particularly child development.
As pressure mounts from consumers, investors, and scientific and regulatory bodies to reduce and even phase out the use of hazardous agrochemicals, companies across different sectors are beginning to take action. In February 2020, Corteva, the agrochemical spinoff from Dow Chemical and Dupont, announced it will stop producing chlorpyrifos by the end of the year. Scientific studies demonstrate that chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide in the U.S., has the potential to damage brain development in children. In the food and beverage sector, Kellogg recently announced that it will phase out the use of glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup, as a pre-harvest drying agent in its major wheat and oat supply chains by 2025. These commitments are important steps in ensuring human and environmental health, and Mercy Investment Services will continue to engage companies in the agricultural and food sectors on the importance of phasing out harmful pesticides and transitioning to more sustainable practices.