Horizon Committee investigates use of plastic in agriculture – but where from here?

5th June 2019

SAI Platform’s Horizon Committee provides members with the opportunity to meet and discuss common but complex issues in order to prioritise work that will benefit the membership.

The recently published report on use of plastics in agriculture  is the first deliverable of the Horizon Committee in 2019. Commissioned by Emese Brósz of Agrifirm on behalf of SAI Platform, it is a clear example of how the Horizon Committee is focusing on specific concerns and addressing the knowledge gap that exists between non-industry-based research and innovation and implementation through the industry.

The Horizon Committee gathered earlier this year, on 27 February, in Rotterdam to discuss its’ long-term vision and strategy. Kindly hosted by Unilever, the meeting brought together seven SAI Platform member companies. The outcome of the meeting led to a concise prioritisation of common interests and potential opportunities. The top five of which were allocated champions from our membership who volunteered to further investigate the issues. These topics included plastics on-farm, a competency model for farmers, bioengineering, biodiversity and the circular economy.

On choosing a topic to champion, Emese Brósz from Agrifirm commented – “We wanted to champion the issue of plastics in agriculture because it is relevant and connected to our activities. It’s important for us to support this because change cannot be achieved by one company alone. Open discussions and cooperation are needed along the whole supply chain.

The report set out to identify were plastic use is highest and where it is increasing in agriculture. The findings from the report outline the clear and present rising trends of plastic use in agriculture and the severity of the issue.

With the information we have from this report, the focus should now be on decreasing the use of plastics where possible on farms and raising the percentage of collecting and recycling within the agriculture sector. The industry goal should be to use less plastics and where use of plastic is unavoidable, it must be biodegradable, recyclable and disposed of in a proper way.” concluded Emese Brósz. 

One of the goals of the Horizon Committee and SAI Platform is to create synergies and bring our members together. As we address the important issue of plastics on farms, we now have a fuller understanding and we can concentrate on how to solve it. From the report we can see that if we are to address this issue at scale, we need to look to China and Asia-Pacific to maximise impact.” added Nick Betts, Director-Americas for SAI Platform.