St. Louis / MO. (bl) Bunge Limited, a leader in agriculture, food and ingredients, participated at the virtual BMO 2020 Growth + ESG Conference to discuss the Company’s current plans and approach to addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and opportunities. The fireside session featured a robust Q+A with Greg Heckman, Chief Executive Officer, and Rob Coviello, Senior Vice President of Sustainability and Government Affairs.
The discussion centered around the intersection of sustainability within the agribusiness and food operating environment, the sustainability of Bunge’s operations and strategic changes, and Bunge’s role in addressing environmental and social responsibility.
«Sustainability is at the core of our business. When I arrived at Bunge, I was really impressed with what the company had done and the real focus on doing the work versus spending a lot of time talking about it,» said Heckman.
Coviello highlighted the collaborative relationship Bunge maintains with its stakeholders and how it is proactively engaging with them to capture insights about its sustainability approach. He also addressed the three priority areas where Bunge is focused: action on climate; promoting responsible supply chains, including the industry leading commitment to having deforestation-free supply chains by 2025; and accountability by consistently and transparently reporting against sustainability performance.
«Within our unique oilseeds platform, we have the ability to promote sustainable agriculture with impact projects that support the environment while also supporting social and human rights programs in the areas where we work,» said Coviello. «We are focused on being accountable – we say what we are going to do, and we do what we say. We consistently and publicly track and disclose our progress on our commitments and on our sustainability performance.»
When asked about how Bunge views sustainability within the context of the company’s reorganization and revised global business model, Heckman and Coviello noted the progress that has been made and how a global approach has allowed the company to address ESG and sustainability opportunities more quickly and more efficiently than it had before.
«We feel very confident we will continue to hit our commitments. We also know that Bunge alone is not the solution in addressing global sustainability challenges,» said Coviello. «That’s why we are working with all the key players along the value chain to make sure we are coming up with scalable solutions to promote and build a resilient food system.»
Regarding Bunge’s future, Heckman noted that Bunge has completed the turnaround phase of its strategy and is seeing financial performance improve as a result. Heckman indicated adjusted EPS for 2020 is now expected to be above the previous outlook of USD 6.25-6.75, reaching at least USD 7.00. He also mentioned the team is currently «focused on continuous improvement and thinking strategically about where the demand is going, where our customers want to be and how we can best serve them.» He added, «we are very excited about the prospects within our global oilseeds platform and the growth and demand we see – from customers and consumers – around emerging interest in biofuels, specialty fats and oils, and plant-based proteins.»