Agriculture can play major role in replenishing the planet, says US business leader

By Reuben Quainoo

May 26, 2022

Agriculture has the greatest potential to positively influence the future of our planet, said Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, a company dedicated to sustainable food production.

“From protecting pollinators, to improving soil fertility and building resilience to the effects of climate change, biodiversity is fundamental to addressing global hunger,” he said during remarks at the recent annual Alltech One conference. “But the clock is ticking. We need to increase our investments to protect our planet before it is too late. Our future depends on it.”

In calling for greater investments to protect the planet, Alltech pledged to focus on proactive conservation, management and restoration of natural ecosystems and biodiversity to help address the challenges of climate change, food and water security and human health.

“Reducing is not enough; we must do something different,” Lyons said. “Our belief is that agriculture has the greatest potential to positively influence the future of our planet, to provide nutrition for all and to help rural communities thrive and replenish our planet’s resources.”

Heather White, author and founder/CEO of One Green Thing, a climate activism organization, offered three steps for making climate action a joyful daily practice.

“First, think beyond your age and listen, secondly, find your unique role, and third, apply the daily practice of sustainability,” she said. “The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time, and we all have a unique role to play.”

She noted, however, that “no individual can solve the climate crisis, and that much of the burden is on the shoulders of corporations and policymakers who tend to vote against the planet.” Still, “individual actions do matter, and contribute to a desperately needed cultural change which will help relieve our kids’ feelings of eco-anxiety.”

Paul Polman, a business leader, campaigner and co-author of “Net Positive,” explained that Net Positive is a new way of doing business that puts more into society, the environment and the global economy than it takes out.

“Organizations that take a ‘net positive’ approach share an ambition to grow their brand, have strong financial performance and attract the brightest talent,” Polman said. “It’s time for business leaders to build net positive companies that profit by fixing the world’s problems rather than creating them.”

Polman lauded Alltech “planet of plenty” vision as a means for bringing together the key principles of consumer, environmental and animal health and leveraging technology to advance sustainable farm management.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said she is “pushing 1 million dollars’ into the planet of plenty agenda in hopes that Kentucky will become an agriculture hub in the United States within a few years.

“Together, we have the nerve to work together for a planet of plenty,” she said.

Image: Alltech CEO Mark Lyons addresses the company’s annual sustainability conference. Photo: Reuben Quainoo