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Grão Direto and Bayer Collaborate to Expand Sustainable Practices in Grain Trading

"Sustainability Practices Badge“ indicates which farmers on the platform are utilizing agronomic practices that are more beneficial to the environment. Source: Bayer

Grão Direto, the largest digital platform for grain trading in Latin America, developed in collaboration with Bayer the introduction of the “Sustainable Practices Badge” on its digital marketplace. The badge indicates which farmers on the platform are utilizing agronomic practices that are more beneficial to the environment. The initiative allows the startup to provide even greater security, traceability and efficiency for digital grain transactions on the physical market.

Built in collaboration with Bayer’s global sustainability team, the badge is awarded to farmers who score high on a sustainable farming practices survey which assigns a score to key farming practices such as no-tillage practices, reduced use of nitrogen, soil management or types of rotation crops. Farmers that do not receive the badge in the first place are encouraged to learn about and adopt practices that are more beneficial to the environment.

Following a pilot with over 200 participating Brazilian farmers, the initiative is now opening the badging process to all dozens of thousands of Grão Direto’s platform users. Alongside the badge, other ESG data orchestrated from different sources – such as government agencies and monitoring and compliance companies – is used to check, for example, deforestation and labor conformities.

Grão Direto’s product and technology teams were supported by several global Bayer experts, who served as advisors on the most relevant topics for the pilot, including the best way to approach the farmers, composition of the score, methodology and results. Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer, also participated in investment rounds for Grão Direto in 2018 and 2021.

“It was an incredible collaborative effort,” stated Frederico Marques, head of product and CTO of Grão Direto and leader of the initiative. “Our team was in contact with leading ESG specialists, researched benchmarks from other markets, validated the customer experience and the user acceptance and, of course, defined which agronomic practices – and at what level – are differentials for better environmental care.“ For Marques, Bayer’s support was important: “It is gratifying to be in a working group with some of the biggest names in the world on sustainability, carbon emissions and digital products for agribusiness. The availability, kindness and involvement of these professionals make us even more confident that we are on the right path to be the digital grain trading platform that most encourages sustainability in the world,” emphasized Marques.

“As a global leader in agriculture with significant scale and reach, we have an increased responsibility to address the challenges facing our food system and agriculture’s impact on the environment, and we believe in strong partnerships,” said Matthias Berninger, Head of Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability at Bayer. “That’s precisely why we collaborated with Grão Direto on the Sustainability Practices Badge. This is a great example of how we incentive farmers to implement solutions to achieve better harvests using less water, land and energy.”