Sustainable activities in the agriculture segment
Through innovative products and services, BayWa helps its customers to meet global challenges, such as climate change and the growing global population. To this end, BayWa is driving the development of forward-looking, digital technologies for the agricultural sector.
BayWa develops concepts for climate-resilient agriculture
Along with the reduction of greenhouse gases, BayWa’s strategic climate activities also include an increased focus on greater climate resilience in its value chain as a result of climate change. To better understand the impact of climate change on BayWa’s business activities in the agricultural division and increase the resilience of the agricultural value chain, BayWa conducted a series of workshops on the topic of climate-resilient agriculture in 2019. Representatives from Agri Trade & Service, Strategy & Innovation, Risk Management, Global Produce and Corporate Sustainability have developed climate and business scenarios to examine the consequences of climate change for southern and western Germany and to identify opportunities and risks for BayWa, as well as its suppliers and customers.
Smart farming: Agriculture 4.0
The agricultural sector is undergoing a digital transformation. The data collected by agricultural machinery and satellites on soil conditions, water requirements and plant growth have long since been helping to calculate ideal fertiliser levels and increase yields per hectare. The BayWa subsidiary FarmFacts has now developed an interoperable system for this purpose under the name NEXT Farming. It helps farmers to collect the proper data, apply that data smartly and thereby optimise processes both on the farm and in the field. The system has a modular design and can be adjusted in line with farm size and cultivation method.
An increase in heat waves and dry weather is leading to harvest losses worldwide and is making more artificial irrigation necessary. VariableRain, an application from BayWa, is designed to encourage the efficient use of water and keep an eye on crops’ individual water needs. VariableRain can be used to create irrigation maps. The satellite-based service can help save water, energy and time, and crops receive just the right amount.
BayWa has also offered organic farmers a special organic range of seeds, feedstuffs, operating resources, barns and stables, and agricultural equipment through its "BayWa Öko" concept. This concept is constantly being expanded in line with our customers’ needs, which is one of the reasons why BayWa has been a member of the Biokreis organic association since mid-2018.
Certified Responsible Soya
The subsidiary Cefetra has started the Certified Responsible Soya (CRS) standard, which is a zero-deforestation standard, together with Control Union. Cefetra is the key supplier/partner of the Belgian compound feed association (BEMEFA) in their project regarding certification of responsible soya. Cefetra has been the front runner in the supply of certified responsible soya into the European market and will continue this role in the years to come.
Laboratory for ideas of the future
The Agro Innovation Lab produced a number of forward-looking ideas in 2018. The BayWa and RWA innovation platform supported six start-ups with the goal of expanding their business nationally and internationally. Landpack, a Munich-based company that develops food packaging based on stalks of straw, was among the recipients.
Harvesting tomatoes in the desert
The joint venture of BayWa and Al Dahra in the United Arab Emirates harvested tomatoes under the “Mahalli” private brand for the first time in September 2018. They ripened in a climate-controlled greenhouse and are destined for the local market, where demand is high. Local production shortens transport routes, saves CO2 and increases the country’s self-sufficiency. State-of-the-art climate-controlled greenhouses help reduce resource consumption by up to 70 per cent while increasing yields by a factor of ten compared to outdoor production.
Kimex- after CRS now also RTRS certified
In 2017, Kimex became one of the first farms in Paraguay to be certified in line with the Certified Responsible Soya (CRS) standard. Sustainability plays an important role on the farm. For example, Kimex has launched an educational programme that makes it possible for all the children in Kressburgo to attend school. Moreover, Kimex is committed to protecting the environment and minimising any negative impacts by preserving 5,000 hectares of primeval forest. As part of its sustainability programme, Cefetra focuses on the continuous improvement of agricultural processes and cooperation with local farmers. “Cefetra and the CRS programme give us guidance as to how we can implement sustainable practices at our farm,” says CEO Cristina Kress. “That has allowed us to improve continuously over the years and obtain certification from the Roundtable on Responsible Soy Association, or RTRS.”
Feedstuffs based on wood
agromed Austria GmbH, a subsidiary of RWA, uses wood to make healthy, natural and sustainable animal feed. Specifically, the company uses the natural ingredient lignocellulose, which animals need for a number of reasons, including a healthy digestive and immune system. The natural fibres for the products are harvested from untreated, freshly cut wood from sustainably managed forests in Europe – primarily Germany – that has been certified in line with the GMP+ and PEFC standards.