Companies are Looking for Ways to Protect the Plants Their Products are Made From
The number of plant species in the world is declining, and climate change is poised to reck further havoc on commodity crops. As shrinking natural habitat decreases populations of pollinators and crop cousins, farmers age, and markets favor high-yielding varieties, vital diversity may be lost. Yet crop diversity, including landraces and wild relatives, can serve as a vital source of climate resilience or pest resistance traits for crop breeders. Meanwhile, seed collections, especially those housed in resource-poor developing countries, strain to maintain funds.
The question then: Shouldn’t companies help protect the plant diversity their businesses are built on? The biggest challenge is how.
That’s where the Crop Trust steps in. With the help of partner organizations, the Crop Trust has developed 27 crop conservation strategies to assess the conservation status of crop diversity collections. However, the Crop Trust’s work has been funded overwhelmingly by governments.
“In recent years, we have started to look to [the] food industry because it is dependent on crop diversity,” says Crop Trust executive director Marie Haga. “With climate change, plants are struggling. When plants are struggling, the food industry will also struggle in the long run.”