1. Home
  2. Corporate Sustainability Report
  3. Responsible Sourcing

Responsible Sourcing

ADM procures agricultural commodities around the world, and our vast supply chain has a direct impact on the land use and biodiversity of those regions, as well as the lives of individuals living and working there. Some of our sourcing regions are at a particular risk for deforestation and human rights violations. Our policies and commitments related to these issues apply to our entire supply chain with implementation activities focusing first on high-risk geographies.

In addition, we leverage our experience in responsible sourcing practices to enhance local communities’ access to clean water and sanitation (as part of our commitment to human rights) and sustainable agriculture practices.

ADM on Sustainability: Traceability

ADM on Sustainability: Traceability

Sustainability Commitments and Policies

ADM has set forth several key social and environmental commitments and policies that collectively outline our expectations for our colleagues, business partners and contractors, and our organization as a whole with respect to our sourcing operations. They establish clear standards that govern our approach to raw material sourcing, environmental stewardship and employee conduct, among other areas, and they state our positions on issues of widespread public interest. These standards were developed with input from our operations, law, compliance, environmental, and health and safety teams, and were approved by Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano.

Learn more by visiting our progress tracker for soypalm and human rights.

Building a More Sustainable Agricultural Value Chain

We are the foundation of food on tables the world over – flavoring culture, forwarding health and wellness, and venturing into new possibilities and discoveries for human and animal nutrition. Creating value through the entire supply chain gives us the opportunity to help build a more sustainable food system.

InfographicClick to enlarge

Sustainable Agriculture

Food is fundamental. It sustains us, fulfills us and fuels our wellbeing. It’s the most basic need with the most critical impact. To ensure we are able to feed a growing global population for generations to come, it is essential to work with suppliers to implement sustainable agriculture practices. At ADM we recognize the opportunity we have to work together with our growers to identify and implement farming practices that can reduce environmental impact, sequester carbon in the soil, and improve on-farm economics and labor conditions.

Sustainable agriculture practices often have multiple positive outcomes. For example, cover crops can sequester carbon, lowering GHG emissions while also reducing soil and nutrient run-off, protecting our growers' most vital assets. In a similar fashion, reduced tillage can protect soil from wind and water erosion, and over time, it can improve soil resiliency adding a long-term benefit for growers. These types of sustainable agriculture practices are critical to ensuring a viable supply chain into the future, while also reducing environmental impacts. 

Sustainable agriculture is a key topic for ADM because it contributes to all five of the SDGs we've identified as core for our business.

  • Zero Hunger: Improving the resiliency of our food supply chain to feed a growing global population
  • Clean Water and Sanitation: Reducing soil and nutrient run-off to improve water quality and protect drinking water sources
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth: Educating and enabling growers to protect smallholder resources and increase income
  • Climate Action: Implementing practices to reduce direct emissions and sequester carbon in soils
  • Life on Land: Protecting forests and biodiversity to preserve ecosystems

Our commitment to sustainability extends throughout our value chain. It includes our work with growers to implement responsible farming practices including the 13 million acres we’ve enrolled in sustainable agriculture programs across five continents in recent years. For example, in South America, working with Alian?a da Terra, we have engaged over 6.5 million acres to address local issues such as labor and safety practices and environmental protection.

We represent a unique position in the supply chain – as an aggregator and processor of commodities, we can leverage the relationships we have with our customers, upstream and downstream to implement sustainable agriculture programs. Our approach recognizes and accommodates the variances in commodities and geographies from which we source; not all practices are a good fit for every farm.

We participate in several certification and rating programs, including ADM Responsible Soy, 2BSvs, Round Table for Responsible Soy, International Sustainability and Carbon Certification, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, Sustainable Agriculture Initiative – Farm Sustainability Assessment, Red Tractor, Food Alliance, and Fair Trade.

In addition, we work with downstream customers to implement customized and targeted sustainable agriculture projects based on education, outreach, and continuous improvement. These programs focus on specific outcomes such as irrigation efficiency, carbon reduction and sequestration, or water quality impacts. We have identified four key practices that can provide positive outcomes in several or all of these areas – complex crop rotations, nutrient management plans, reduced tillage, and cover crops.

Working across 11 active projects in the United States, we engaged growers representing over 800,000 acres of corn, soy and wheat in 2020. We continue to focus on implementing projects that educate and incentivize positive change. In addition to direct financial incentives, we partner with agronomy specialists to provide technical assistance to ensure growers have support and success when implementing new practices. Three of our projects are collaborative efforts with down-stream customers focusing on increasing the usage of cover crops. In 2020, growers in these projects planted over 130,000 acres of cover crops reducing nutrient run-off and soil erosion while sequestering carbon in the soil.