OpenAg – Using brand as operating system, to redefine sustainability

In 2019 venturethree created the brand OpenAgTM, to bring UPL and Arysta together. At its core was a vision of an agriculture network for the whole world. Since then this vision has evolved, from being UPL’s brand purpose to become a new definition of sustainability – an open network that creates sustainable growth for everyone, no limits, no borders. This shift is an example of what happens when brand as operating system is put into practice. New businesses within UPL have launched, and existing ones rebooted, to become key parts of OpenAg, delivering new thinking, processes and real-world impact. And because it is an operating system, it’s able to influence culture too, by creating the space to form influential partnerships outside the sector.

Economic and social impact

Agriculture is inherently risky. Politics, ever-changing technology and the weather makes it hard for small farmers especially to survive. As a planet we need them to, as our food needs cannot be met solely by big farms.

OpenAg seeks to build economic resilience for farmers and the communities they live and work in, through new businesses which help to improve outputs and outcomes, and by creating programs that drive positive social change.

Environmental impact

Acknowledging that agriculture needs produce more food doesn’t change the fact that it must do so with fewer inputs, while leaving a lighter environmental footprint. Efficiency isn’t just good economics but also good sustainability.

Key OpenAg innovations help to use radically less water when growing crops, and promote the use of biosolutions, meaning less man-made chemicals in the soil.

Food security

By 2050, the way food is currently produced will not be able to support the world’s expected population. It’s vital to find a new approach, to increase both the amount of food produced globally, and the security and safety of food supply systems.

How? By using bio and conventional solutions to increase the amount that can be harvested from crops. Then reducing how much is lost to waste.

A true sustainability network

Thanks to its presence in wider culture, OpenAg recognises that sustainability cannot be achieved by organisations working on their own. Working with new partners, launching new businesses and attracting new talent all help to accelerate the progress of truly sustainable behaviours and practices in agriculture.

Notable collaborations include the Gigaton Challenge, where UPL will work with others to take 1bn tonnes of CO2 out of the sky by 2040, and a research programme with the Soil Health Institute to protect and enhance soil vitality. UPL has also joined forces with the FIFA Foundation, to use football to raise awareness about sustainable development in agriculture.