Football is played, followed, and loved by millions around the world. Unique in superseding borders, age, wealth, and beliefs, football creates a sense of community and shared belonging – bringing people of all walks of life together with the common hope that passion, commitment, and teamwork can achieve the seemingly impossible. Our One Goal is to harness this same energy and enthusiasm into advancing sustainable agriculture in a way that we can secure our food future and protect our planet.
FIFA has made a clear commitment to deliver the first ever carbon neutral FIFA World CUP 2022™ – a real game-changer for the industry and for the planet. With all eyes on the World Cup, we have an opportunity to reimagine sustainability and reposition agriculture’s place within the global development agenda. As an official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ South American Supporter, it is our One Goal to use the convening power of football as a platform to educate and excite people about the role sustainable agriculture can play in decarbonising our planet and restoring balance with our natural world.
The relationship between people and the planet is delicate. Climate change, land constraints, and the expanding global population place a new emphasis on the need for environmentally sound solutions and technologies. And global challenges need global answers. At UPL, we are rethinking the purpose of agriculture on Earth as a climate-positive force, that restores balance and ensures food systems and farming not only feed our population, but sustain and safeguard our One World. Take our collaboration with the Soil Health Institute as an example: working together to pioneer new ways both to preserve global soil health, and utilise its untapped potential as the greatest carbon sink on Earth. And the launch of our NPP business unit for biosolutions last year is unlocking new opportunities and climate-positive outcomes for farmers, to harness natural and biologically derived tools to protect their crops and boost their yields. Already, new technologies are being paired with good agricultural practices to empower female cocoa farmers in Africa to produce secondary food crops, delivering benefits in terms of economic and climate resilience, and environmental stewardship.
We only have One Moment as significant as this to showcase this version of agriculture. The world needs our urgency and can be inspired by our vision of farmers as the champions of our net zero future. Here too we are leading by example, and last year announced the launch of a new series of global initiatives which will leverage sustainable methods to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide equivalent to one Gigaton by 2040. We have been further evidencing this approach through our OpenAg® network, as we partner with innovators to help growers access new technologies that will transform the productivity, precision and overall potential of their farms. Our ag-tech subsidiary nurture.farm recently led a revolutionary collaboration with the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) to empower tens of thousands of Indian farmers with the tools and technologies to perform regenerative practices and effectively eliminate one of the most environmentally hazardous agricultural practices – stubble burning.
Guided by our OpenAg® purpose, we place collaboration at the heart of progress and truly believe that being One Team is the most effective way of achieving a win-win for all. Launched in 2020, our OpenAg Centre based in North Carolina brings together entrepreneurs, researchers and innovators to develop, validate and scale the next generation of climate-smart solutions that are securing our food future. And our OpenAg Farm in Brazil brings together farmers on a 25,000 hectare area to find new solutions for growers that address pain points directly and optimise plant health.
Our global presence is also enabling us to reach more farmers where their need is greatest and support their communities, lives, and livelihoods in the most meaningful way possible. For more than 50 years, as a trusted partner within agricultural communities, we have been lighting the path to new technologies, new solutions, and new ways of doing things. Today, we are walking that path hand-in-hand with farmers worldwide by putting sustainable food systems at the top of the agenda, because this One Game is not just a sport, but a way of thinking about the world.
Children and young adults alike look up to footballers and take inspiration from their leadership. It is our One Dream to use the power of football to include young people in the sustainability conversation, educating generations to come, galvanising lasting change, and inspiring them to choose a new food future. Guided by this dream, we are collaborating with the FIFA Foundation’s ‘Football for Schools’ programme to engage underprivileged children across rural Brazil in interactive sessions, focused on developing life skills and promoting values through football.
We firmly support the belief that there is One Future, a future where food systems are resilient, sufficient and sustainable, farming communities are empowered, and our planet, soils, and skies are healthy. Last year we affirmed our aspiration to harness the power of agriculture as a force for good, and signed up to The Climate Pledge to build a sustainable planet for generations to come. That is why we are joining forces with players from different sectors to ensure agriculture contributes to our climate-positive future.
This is only the beginning. If we can change the entire operating system for agriculture and the role it plays in the planet’s health, think of the possibilities for building new climate and development tools: innovative solutions supported by a world ready to make it count. We are proud to be embarking on this journey towards a sustainable future with FIFA, and can’t wait to continue on this path together. As we head towards November, join UPL in the build up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and make sure to follow our blog series for exciting updates and more information on these projects and other global initiatives.