If Springsteen were a farmer


Bruce Springsteen’s song catalogue, which numbers in the hundreds, chart’s the life of the ordinary man – ‘This Hard Land’, ‘Thunder Road, ‘Badlands’, ‘My Hometown’, ‘Waitin’ on a Sunny Day’, ‘Tougher than the rest’, ‘Walk like a man’, ‘The River’, ‘Better Days’, ‘Land of Hope and Dreams’ … the list goes on. Springsteen tells stories of ordinary people and it is to this that we connect. And through connection, he can often deliver a powerful message.

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Sustainability skin in the game

In a shift from tradition, Syngenta has this week issued a Sustainable Business Report for 2017 ( Sustainable Business Report )which replaces the more traditional and market focused, Annual Report.  The Sustainable Business Report includes quantitative and qualitative information on policies and actions taken regarding the business and its corporate responsibility goals.  It also serves as the annual Communication on Progress (COP) for the United Nations Global Compact.

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Let’s celebrate the ordinary people of agriculture

I was led to this thought after reading a neat little blog the other day by Craig Winneker, Director of Communications for the European Renewable Ethanol Association (@CraigWinneker). In his blog Effective Messaging for Associations, Winneker notes “If you don’t have something to say, it doesn’t matter where you try to say it…” He goes on to say that you must “Speak for something”.

We as an agricultural industry have been poor at in trying to address the inevitable questions that arise around how our food is produced because too often we don’t tell our story well enough.  And our story is about people.

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Our Finest Hour? Agriculture and Leadership

My 11 year old son Gus is fascinated with the Second World War and so was thrilled recently when his Mum took him to London where he visited the Churchill Museum. I too was thrilled because he brought me back a book of Churchill quotes, which has made for fascinating reading over the last week or so. It really got me thinking about leadership at a time when the global agriculture industry is going through so much change, because the success or otherwise of how we fare as an industry will come down to leadership: plain and simple.

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Listen twice as much as you speak: emotional intelligence and stakeholder engagement

“…While the impulse may be to say that this is unfair, one of the lessons I’ve learned over time is that change comes from self-reflection. So it’s worth examining how we got here. The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation. Irrespective of whether we did everything that is being said about us … it really matters what people think of us, especially in a global business like ours, where actions in one part of the world can have serious consequences in another…”

It’s rare one sees such #emotionalintelligence from a CEO, let alone one who has been in the job just a few weeks, but this came from newly installed Uber CEO  Dara Khosrowshahi after just a couple of weeks in the job. It came in an email to employees after the announcement that the City of London would not be renewing Uber’s operating license.

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