Seventy per cent of water worldwide is used in agriculture. In fact, this figure reaches 90% in the majority of the least developed countries. Without improved efficiency measures, if nothing is done to prevent it, it is expected that water consumption for agricultural use will increase by around 20% worldwide by 2050. Today, water resources are already under pressure and water shortages affect around 40% of the world’s population.
With this data as a starting point, it is clear that agriculture has a crucial role in the responsible and rational use of this precious resource. But in order to be able to make a contribution, an increasingly urgent transformation needs to take place: achieve tools or services which, through technological advancement, make it possible to take sustainable decisions and action.
The big issue of recent years has been the crisis, its causes and possible remedies. We all know that European economic policy calls for a balanced budget, limiting the deficit and, with it, the capacity for public investment, particularly in the most heavily indebted administrations. I have to confess that I have not yet read Keynes. Nor am I capable of arguing for or against the outcome the implementing greater or lesser stimuli in the form of public investments in terms of their impact upon the European economy. For me, the issue is different: there are infrastructures we simply cannot do without.
I have taken our Sustainability Report from 2002 out of the drawer. Before that, we published environmental activity reports, but this was the first to use the new term and which took a holistic approach that also included economic and social aspects.