Big changes are coming for global chemical giants DuPont and Dow Chemical as they recently announced a $130 billion merger deal, creating DowDuPont. DowDupont won’t be around for long, though, as it will break into three separate public companies in less than two years. They will each specialize in different areas of the industry: specialty products, material science, and agriculture. Investor Dan Loeb has been pushing the company to separate its agribusiness and other specialty chemical units from its petrochemical sectors.
According to DuPont, the world’s population will grow more than nine billion people by 2050. To address the challenges of a rising demand for more nutritious and safe food, the company is harnessing collaboration and innovation to increase food availability, affordability and overall better nutrition around the world.
DuPont has set ambitious sustainability goals for 2020 that focus on three strategic areas: the company’s footprint, innovation, and food security. This includes a startling investment of $10 billion in sustainable food research and development.
In efforts to focus on the agriculture industry, the company has already made an investment of over $1.2 billion in research and development. It will also create 4,000 new products, hoping they will “contribute to a safer, healthier, more sustainable world.”
“A rising global population and middle class, food insecurity, and energy demands are among the many factors placing unprecedented strains on our planet’s scarce resources. We believe solutions lie in collaborative efforts involving people and institutions with a stake in building a safer, healthier and more prosperous world,” says Edward D. Breen, CEO of the new DowDuPont.
DuPont also pledged to facilitate “2 million engagements with young people around the world to foster sustainable food and agriculture knowledge” by 2020. The company has already made key accomplishments in this area by educating Ukrainian agriculture students on seed production and promoting the significance of citizenship and sustainable agriculture among Brazilian elementary students.
By the end of 2020, DuPont will aim to improve the livelihoods of at least three million farmers and their countryside communities. The company directly reached out to almost 700,000 farmers to help support agricultural systems and increase productivity in 2014.