Heerlen, NL, 25 Oct 2018
Improving society’s ability to adapt to a changing climate
As the risks from a warming world intensify, so will the consequences for people and the environment - from disruptions in water, food, and energy supplies, to damage and loss caused by rising sea levels and extreme weather events. While DSM is actively committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight the cause of the problem, the adverse effects of changing weather patterns are manifesting themselves. In short, we have a responsibility to act: not only on “climate mitigation” (reducing and stabilizing greenhouse gasses) but also on “climate adaptation” (improving society’s ability to adapt to climate effects).
Climate change as a risk multiplier
Extreme weather conditions such as floods, heavy rainfall, droughts and storms will increase in future decades, putting the most vulnerable at extreme risk. As such, climate change can put progress across various Sustainable Development Goals in danger.
In 2015, the World Bank released a study that warned if left unchecked, climate disruptions could push more than 100 million additional people back into poverty by 2030. In 2016, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) estimated that the cost of adapting to climate change in developing countries could rise to between $280 and $500 billion per year by 2050. Finally, a 2017 study from the World Food Programme projects the number of malnourished children to increase by 24 million in 2050 as a direct consequence of climate change.
We have solutions and efforts aimed at supporting societies – both in the developed and developing world – in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change:
Global Commission on Adaptation
In recognition of the importance of climate adaptation, DSM’s CEO Feike Sijbesma is one of the Commissioners of the “Global Commission on Adaptation”. The work of the Commission will elevate the visibility and political importance of climate adaptation and encourage bold solutions like smarter investments, new technologies and better planning to become more resilient to climate-related threats. The initiative is led by Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Georgieva, CEO, World Bank. It includes 17 convening countries and 28 commissioners, including the leaders, representing all regions of the globe and all sectors of development and industry.
Addressing malnutrition through innovative partnerships
Left unaddressed, the World Food Programme warns that climate risks will exacerbate undernutrition and hunger.
DSM’s Nutrition Improvement Program and Nutrition in Emerging Markets Program lead the innovative product development that helps to fight malnutrition. We partner with (among other) the World Food Programme to deliver products that help the most vulnerable, such as micronutrient powders, Supercereal+ and fortified rice.
Studying the potential of nutritional ingredients to counteract adverse health effects of air pollution
Air pollution is already affecting public health and is a problem that will worsen as temperatures increase further.
Specific combinations of vitamins,
omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutritional ingredients can strengthen
the immune system, counter the adverse effects on blood pressure,
respiratory infections such as asthma, act as antioxidants, and improve
cardiovascular health and immune systems.
Innovating to prevent a further increase of food loss
With higher temperatures, additional measures will be needed to avoid food loss in agricultural food production.
Spreading of molds on fruit will worsen as temperatures go up gradually. DSM has developed a solution to prevent early spoilage of fruits after they are harvested, together with our partner Pace International. This solution is the first biocontrol agent of natural origin for the postharvest fruit industry.
DSM and Syngenta have joined forces in an R&D partnership to develop microbial-based agricultural solutions, including bio-controls, bio-pesticides and bio-stimulants. The companies aim to jointly commercialize solutions from their discovery platform. The collaboration aims to accelerate the delivery of a broad spectrum of products based on naturally occurring micro-organisms for pre- and post-harvest application around the world. These organisms can protect crops from pests and diseases, combat resistance and enhance plant productivity and fertility.
Donating resources in response to humanitarian disasters
Several humanitarian crises were - to a significant degree - triggered by extreme weather events such as storms, floods, and droughts. With climate change, such crises will become more frequent and more intense.
In 2017, DSM has responded to the extreme droughts in South Sudan, Northern Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen with an international donation campaign. Employees are encouraged to support the emergency aid programs of the WFP and DSM will double each of their gifts.