While the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the lives and livelihoods of billions around the world, it has also presented humankind with a unique opportunity to consider how the way we live impacts the environment and the future of our planet. With humanity facing an aging and growing population, the fallout from climate change, as well as water scarcity and a loss of biodiversity, it is clear that urgent and more rapid progress is needed. As we make our way into the new year, it is important for societies, governments, and businesses worldwide to reflect on how to minimize the negative effects of these circumstances more effectively.
2030 Sustainability Commitment in Health and Zero Hunger
Setting an example in this regard is multinational life science Bayer. Reflecting its motto of “Health for all, hunger for none,” the company has been actively working toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a set of 17 objectives that seek to provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet by 2030.
In countries across the globe, Bayer’s portfolio of leading businesses in health and nutrition have helped contribute to disease prevention and treatment, food security, and sustainable agricultural practices, among many other efforts beneficial to humanity and the environment. In Taiwan, the company has partnered with local governments and NGOs to push forward its commitment to sustainability and a better world for all.
Bayer Innovation Award: Empowering Innovation on Campus
In 2018, Bayer Taiwan began offering its annual Innovation Award, an initiative that aims to spur innovation, especially among the island’s youth, in three major fields vital to both Taiwan and Bayer: Human Health, particularly as it relates to aging and Agriculture.
At this year’s competition, which took place in June, Bayer recognized four outstanding innovators whose ideas targeted issues such as healthy aging and zero hunger. Recipients of the award will receive consultation from local biomedicine accelerator/incubator H. Spectrum and National Chung Hsing University’s Startup@NCHU Innovation Center on how to turn their ideas into action.
2020 Volunteer Day : Introduce UN Sustainable Development Goals to Children
Taking advantage of Taiwan’s relatively safe and virus-free status, Bayer Taiwan also held its Volunteer Day at the Yu Le Elementary School in Nantou County this year. A team of around 20 volunteers from the company traveled to the school in December, hosting a soccer competition and other games to help students understand the importance of working together to achieve the 17 SDGs. Through the use of fun, interesting, and inclusive educational activities, Bayer hoped this event would propel students and volunteers to begin diligently applying sustainable concepts to their everyday lives.
Promoting Gender Equality
Another SDG that Bayer Taiwan has made a priority is gender equality, launching its women’s empowerment initiative HerHeroes in September in 2020. The program saw Bayer partner with local NGO The Garden of Hope Foundation, as well as local gynecologists, to hold workshops and roundtables focused on women’s reproductive health. The event coincided with the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the birth control pill, a significant milestone for women’s reproductive rights and a fitting time for the company to promote the notion of“your body, your choice” among young women in Taiwan.
#TaiwanFoodHero : Sustainable Agriculture
Seeing Taiwan as an optimum environment for promoting innovative sustainable agricultural practices, Bayer has also partnered with local farmers associations to introduce the “Prophet Rice (先知稻)” healthy seedling technology to the island’s rice growers. The system works similar to a vaccine, boosting the “immunity” of rice crops to threats such as rice blast fungus, sheath blight, and parasites like the leafroller and stem borer. Through use of Prophet Rice, farmers can reduce by half their pesticide use, saving them time, labor, and costs. This technology also opens a new chapter in environmentally friendly agricultural production, cementing Bayer’s commitment to a sustainable future.