Responsible (agro-)chemical Management covers a wide range of integrated activities. From responsible storage of chemical at farms, mills and factories, to implementing precautious safety measures, wearing protective clothes during spraying and excluding pregnant women and young mothers from using (agro-)chemical at farms and factories. It also entails moving away from hazardous and banned chemicals by mills, farmers and factories, and Integrated Pest and Disease Management at farms and ponds. And finally, also avoiding over-spraying, over-use of antibiotics and soil degradation, and better waste water management in factories, mills and fish ponds.
In 2017 IDH increased its activities and impact in all these areas. In palm oil, soy, tea, coffee and cotton (10% of all global pesticides use is related to cotton) by ramping up- take of certified (Rainforest Alliance, trustea, Utz, RTRS, RSPO, Fair Trade, Better Cotton, etc.) produce that ban the use of certain agrochemicals and antibiotics. In Brazil IDH achieved in 2017 14% less pesticide use by cotton farmers covering 556,000 hectares. By increasing sustainable sourcing on the basis of a basket of standards in fresh & ingredients (flowers, fruits, vegetables, pepper, nuts, vanilla) leading to over 2 million MT of sustainable produce. In coffee and apparel reducing use of pesticides and/or replacing them by better quality products, helps to bring input costs down whilst achieving the same yields. After training and creating a routine in Farmer Field Book keeping, farmers see that direct reduction in high input costs. They often spray too much because they fear they’ll lose their crop. IDH supported field-level projects in Vietnam on developing business cases for sustainable and efficient utilization of input resources. Weekly Farmer Field Book data were collected to devel- op business cases on how to sustainable manage inputs, and hence optimize profit. In apparel in 2017 8 mills have gone through the Race to the Top mill improvement program. After the program mills were presented with potential improvements in energy, water use, wastewater treatment and chemicals use, to reduce their environmental footprint, and save costs.
In the Pakistan Buyer’s Forum, IDH is supporting the Pakistan apparel industry to reduce its environmental footprint. SME project we did with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition provides in- sights to national platforms like the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and Dutch Agreement on Sus- tainable Garments & Textile on how SMEs can establish more sustainable practices (e.g.) reduce chemical use. Interventions on the reduction of chemical use reached over farmers, covering an area of 1.5 million ha under sustainable land use.