Sustainable Development in Action

As China’s sustainable development landscape grows, AmCham China member companies are at the forefront of driving positive change. From the Sustainable Development Case Studies in the 2023 Social Impact Report, the AmCham China Quarterly explores how these companies are not only pioneers in their industries but also champions of a better future for all, demonstrating the profound impact that businesses can have on society, the environment, and the global community.

The Bayer ForwardFarming initiative’s “Fields of Opportunity” event

The Bayer ForwardFarming initiative’s “Fields of Opportunity” event

Photo courtesy of Bayer China

In an era where the pursuit of sustainability has become an imperative for global progress, AmCham China proudly presents a collection of 11 transformative case studies, each showcasing the remarkable contributions of our member companies to the sustainable development landscape in China. These stories serve as beacons of inspiration for individuals and organizations alike, illustrating the unwavering commitment of these organizations to drive positive change across various sectors of society.

AmCham China’s member companies are at the forefront of the sustainable development movement, catalyzing meaningful advancements that echo far beyond the boundaries of business. These case studies unveil a tapestry of innovative strategies and initiatives, highlighting the diverse ways in which these companies are fostering sustainable growth, social impact, and environmental stewardship.

Case Study – Bayer: Leading the Way in Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative Agriculture: A Sustainable Vision

In the quest to create a more sustainable world, Bayer’s work is evident in its continuous efforts to enhance core competencies in healthcare and agriculture. With a remarkable presence of over 140 years in China, the company has made it a mission to assist Chinese communities while actively contributing to the nation’s development.

“Guided by our corporate vision of ‘Health for All, Hunger for None,’ we remain steadfast in our commitment to helping Chinese people thrive,” emphasizes Xiaolan Zhou, Executive Vice President, Pharmaceuticals Division, Bayer AG, and President of Bayer Pharmaceuticals China. As the world grapples with increasingly complex challenges, Zhou draws attention to two critical issues of our time: food security and climate change.

“By 2050, there will be 20% less arable land available for farming, and we need to feed an additional 2.2 billion people,” Zhou states. This immense pressure is further exacerbated by the adverse effects of climate change, necessitating a staggering 50% increase in food and feed production to meet rising demand and adapt to changing dietary preferences.


The Three Pillars of ForwardFarming

In response to these formidable challenges, Bayer has become a champion for the concept of regenerative agriculture. While sustainable agriculture aims to mitigate negative impacts, regenerative agriculture aspires to achieve more. It seeks to not only reduce negative impacts but also generate positive benefits for nature while empowering farmers to thrive in the face of changing climates.

Bayer’s commitment to this vision is illustrated through its “ForwardFarming” program, launched globally in 2015. The initiative collaborates with independent farms around the world, serving as a living testament to practical and viable sustainable agriculture. By harnessing advanced tools and methods, it aims to enhance farming efficiency, elevate food quality and safety, improve ecological conditions, and establish the foundation for regenerative practices. The program consists of three core components: Caring for crops, caring for the planet and people, and caring for partners.

“Our portfolio is geared towards delivering future innovations with regenerative agriculture at its core,” asserts Zhou. She emphasizes that these innovations will not only boost yields but also actively regenerate soil and minimize agriculture’s environmental footprint.

“The future of agriculture lies in regenerative practices. It’s about creating a positive impact on our planet while securing food for future generations.”
– Xiaolan Zhou, Executive Vice President, Pharmaceuticals Division, Bayer AG, and President of Bayer Pharmaceuticals China


Photo courtesy of Bayer Pharmaceuticals China

ForwardFarming in China: Leading Agricultural Innovation

As of June 2023, Bayer has established multiple ForwardFarming farms across China, including the world’s first protected agriculture farm. This milestone reflects Bayer’s commitment to sustainable agriculture in partnership with local farmers. In November 2022, Bayer deepened its cooperation by signing a strategic agreement with the Shanghai Pudong New Area Agriculture and Rural Committee. Plans for the ForwardFarming building at Shanghai Pudong Guaguajiao Farm are underway.

Moreover, in June 2023, Bayer initiated a strategic partnership with the government of Yukou Township in Pinggu, Beijing, to promote agricultural technology innovation and sustainable practices. This triple-win collaboration fosters replicable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly agricultural cultivation models, empowering local farmers while actively disseminating these innovative approaches across China.


Investment in Agriculture

Backing this commitment to regenerative agriculture is Bayer’s substantial financial investment. The company dedicates over €2.6 billion annually to agriculture research and development. This significant allocation drives Bayer’s innovations, allowing for the promotion of regenerative agricultural practices that not only support global food security but also contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change.


The Bayer ForwardFarming initiative’s “Fields of Opportunity” event

Photo courtesy of Bayer China

Shaping Social Impact

In 2022, Bayer introduced the “Fields of Opportunity” campaign, effectively uniting stakeholders from diverse sectors. This campaign serves as a bridge, transforming abstract sustainability concepts into tangible actions for regenerative agriculture. It resonates harmoniously with Bayer’s corporate vision of “Health for All, Hunger for None,” symbolizing the company’s dedication to addressing pressing global challenges through sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices.


Future Prospects

As the journey unfolds, Zhou envisions Bayer’s ForwardFarming program expanding its collaboration network in China. Simultaneously, it will align with Bayer’s global initiative, fostering modern agriculture by creating “fields of opportunity” for regenerative practices. This journey represents Bayer’s longstanding commitment to meeting humanity’s essential needs while actively contributing to China’s development.


Company Profile: Bayer

For nearly 150 years, Bayer has been an agricultural partner, developing world-class innovations with a strong commitment to quality and stewardship. In response to the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and resource scarcity, Bayer has set three long-term goals to be achieved by 2030:

  • Reducing Environmental Impact: Aiming to reduce the environmental impact of crop protection by 30%.
  • Lowering Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Striving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in major agricultural markets per kilogram of crop yield by 30%.
  • Supporting Smallholder Farmers: Committed to supporting 100 million smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries each year with products, services, and partnerships.

In a world facing food security and climate change challenges, Bayer is working hard to make lasting gains by pioneering innovative solutions that promise a sustainable and prosperous future for all. As we move forward, Zhou says the company remains firmly dedicated to achieving its vision of “Health for All, Hunger for None.”


This article is from the AmCham China Quarterly Magazine (Issue 3, 2023). To access the entire publication for free, sign up on our member portal here.