As of 12 April, Louise Fresco has been appointed as independent non-executive board member on the board of breeding company Syngenta. She will be advising the company for four hours a week regarding ways to increase the sustainability of food production.
Members of the WUR executive board can, with the supervisory board’s permission, take on a number of secondary activities. Fresco, chair of the board of WUR, has been a paid advisor for food producer Unilever, but that appointment ended last year.
‘We are delighted that Louise has been appointed as a member of the Syngenta board’, says Frank Ning, chair of Syngenta, in the Syngenta press release. ‘Her experience and expertise in sustainable, healthy food production and her ability to engage people in the benefits of science and agriculture are greatly appreciated.’
A few days before Fresco’s appointment, Syngenta announced a new innovation policy in which the breeding company aims to find solutions for climate change, soil erosion and loss of biodiversity and to respond to ‘changing consumer expectations and views on agricultural technology.’
Fresco will advise on that new innovation policy. ‘Taking place on the board offers an opportunity to work on making food production more sustainable and reducing the impact on the environment based on the latest scientific insights’, Fresco says. ‘I am mainly interested in how science can help small-scale farmers to sustainably increase their yields.’
Syngenta is one of the world’s largest breeding companies. It sells seeds and chemical crop protection products. The company of Swiss origin, which was established in 2000 through a merger of a breeding company and a chemical company, was taken over by the Chinese state-owned company ChemChina a few years ago. Syngenta has five establishments in the Netherlands.