FFA2021 Solutions week

Sustainable solutions from Syngenta

Date: Tuesday, March 9, 2021    Time: 14:00 - 15:30 CET

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From biologicals to biodiversity, how Syngenta is approaching and measuring sustainability

During this online event, we will discuss how the combined challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss are at the heart of a sustainable, productive future of farming and the global economic recovery. The session will investigate how agriculture, and companies like Syngenta, have a pivotal role to play in developing sustainable solutions including biologicals, and how progress can be measured through our Good Growth Plan.

Confirmed speakers (in alphabetical order)

Alexandra Brand
Regional Director Crop Protection EAME, Syngenta
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Juan Gonzalez Valero
Head Sustainable & Responsible Business, Syngenta
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Corey Huck
Head, Global Biologicals, Syngenta
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Petra Laux
Acting Chief Sustainability Officer at the Syngenta Group and Head of EAME Business Sustainability, Syngenta
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Alex Lissitsa
President of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club, CEO of IMC
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Alexandra Brand, Regional Director Crop Protection EAME, Syngenta

Alexandra Brand leads one of Syngenta Group’s largest and most profitable businesses as the Crop Protection Regional Director for Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EAME).

From 2018 – 2020, Alexandra Brand was Chief Sustainability Officer of Syngenta Group where she led the newly created Business Sustainability Group to evolve existing sustainability initiatives including The Good Growth Plan and to drive forward the company’s sustainability agenda. The group aligned the company’s Regulatory Affairs, Sustainability and Stewardship, External Affairs and Communications activities.

Alexandra joined Syngenta in late 2015 as Regional Director of Syngenta’s crop protection and seed operations across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Before joining Syngenta, Alexandra held various positions in the BASF Group, including senior vice president of its global Animal Nutrition business unit, vice president of the Global Marketing Pharma Ingredients unit as well as chief of staff for BASF’s chief executive officer.

Alexandra gained international experience through her role as director of BASF’s Sub Regional Operating Manager Intermediates in South Asia, with its headquarters in Mumbai, India. She began her professional career in global research at BASF.

Alexandra studied chemistry at the Technische Universität in Darmstadt, Germany, from 1990 to 1998 and completed her studies with a doctorate.
Juan Gonzalez Valero, Head Sustainable & Responsible Business, Syngenta

Juan Gonzalez Valero has worked at Syngenta since 2000, and is currently the Head of Sustainable and Responsible Business. He leads all operations related to integrating sustainability aspects into core business practices, including stewardship and the company’s “Good Growth Plan”. Alongside his current position, he is lecturing at the University of St. Gallen.

Prior to his current position, Gonzalez Valero served as Head of Public Policy and Sustainability, Head of Ecological Risk Assessment, Head of Sustainable Use and Stewardship, and Head of Corporate Responsibility within Syngenta. He has also been Head Ecotoxicology at Novartis, and has served on the board of a number of non-profit organizations, among them the Fair Labor Association and the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Gonzalez Valero earned his PhD in Biology with specialization in Ecology and Environmental Toxicology, from the University of Hamburg in 1989.
Corey Huck, Head, Global Biologicals, Syngenta

Corey Huck is currently the Head, Global Biologicals with Syngenta, leading the development of a new industry-leading biologicals business. With more than 25 years of experience in the agricultural industry, he is a strong proponent of the development and adoption of new agricultural and food technologies which support global food security while protecting the environment. Corey has leadership experience in business development, corporate ventures, venture capital, acquisition management, and biotech company and product creation. He grew up on a family farm in Nebraska, U.S. and studied agriculture economics at the University of Nebraska.
Petra Laux, Acting Chief Sustainability Officer at the Syngenta Group and Head of EAME Business Sustainability, Syngenta

Petra Laux is acting Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) of the Syngenta Group, one of the world’s leading agriculture innovation companies. Its 49,000 people across more than 100 countries strive to transform agriculture through breakthrough products and technologies that play a vital role in enabling the food chain to feed the world safely, sustainably and with respect for our planet. Syngenta provides industry-leading ways to serve customers everywhere, doing our part to enable millions of farmers to make better use of available resources, rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities.

As CSO, Petra leads a global team working on the sustainable & responsible use of Syngenta technologies and innovation. Public affairs and  policy as well as regulatory affairs for the crop protection business unit are also in the scope of her team.

Petra is a senior public affairs leader with over 25 years of experience in the research based pharmaceutical industry. She joined Syngenta in 2019 as Head of Business Sustainability for the EAME region. Before that, she led the Global Public Affairs function for over a decade at Novartis headquarters in Basel, where she has been responsible for government relations, public policy, advocacy and ensuring that the company is best positioned with its key audiences. Acting as a credible broker between business, society and the public sector, she delivered impactful government affairs strategies promoting sustainable win-win solutions.

Petra holds a master’s degree in Public Health, a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and is a trained Pharmacist. She has working experience in Germany, Europe and at global level, implementing programs across Washington, Brussels, Sao Paolo, Bejing and Tokyo. She has served as Board member in various associations and in the Novartis Holding Germany.
Alex Lissitsa, President of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club, CEO of IMC

Alex Lissitsa has been the CEO of the IMC (International Milk Company), one of the top 10 agricultural companies in Ukraine since May 2013. He leads and oversees the implementation of the company’s short- and long-term plans in accordance the business strategy. The IMC is an integrated agricultural business based in the north-central part of Ukraine (Chernihiv, Poltava, and Sumy regions) cultivating 136.6 thousand hectares of land and has been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since 2011.

Alex Lissitsa has led the IMC to become one of the most efficient agricultural companies in Ukraine and has established close, long-term cooperation with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Alex Lissitsa is also a founder and president of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club (UCAB), which represents a new model of collaboration and has become the most influential agricultural association in Ukraine since its inception in 2007.

Alex Lissitsa has a diploma in Enterprise Economics from the National Agricultural University of Ukraine (Kyiv), and has also earned a PhD degree in Agriculture at Humboldt University (Berlin, Germany).

Dr. Lissitsa is author of several scientific articles published in internationally recognized professional journals. He has earned several honors and scholarships and has working experience in the EU, Australia, Brazil, and the USA.

Giuseppe Natale
Chief Executive Officer at Valagro SpA
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Javier Peris
Global Technical Support Manager at Syngenta Crop Protection
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Gina Swart
Head Global Product Biology Disease Control, Syngenta
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Giuseppe Natale, Chief Executive Officer at Valagro SpA

Giuseppe Natale holds the position of Chief Executive Officer at Valagro SpA.

In 1980 he founded Farmer Italia s.n.c., today known as Valagro SpA, a multinational leader in the production and marketing of environmentally-friendly fertilisers for agricultural production, lawns, gardening and various industrial applications.

In the Nineties, he led the company towards internationalisation, initially on the European market and thereafter in the rest of the world. Today Valagro has 13 branch offices in 3 continents and, through its distributors, covers more than 80 countries all over the world. Also during the Nineties, Giuseppe Natale pushed for the acquisition of two Norwegian companies, Algea and Nordtang, thereby marking the beginning of the differentiation of the Valagro group into the human and animal nutrition sectors, as well as that of the cosmetics industry.

In a setting where change is the only constant, Giuseppe Natale has restructured the company several times, focusing on organisation by divisions of business, which would allow the Group to grow at an international level, thanks also to innovation, one of the company's constant strong points and to maintaining valuable contact with clients from various businesses, something always at the centre of the company’s activities.

He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Algea A.S. (Norway), Director of Valagro Holding S.r.l., Valagro Hellas S.A. (Greece), Valagro France (France), Valagro Andina Ltda (Columbia), Valagro UK (United Kingdom), Valagro USA Inc., Valagro Mexicana  (Mexico), Valagro Iberia (Spain), Valagro Do Brasil LTDA (Brazil), Maxicrop NZ (New Zealand), Valagro Tarim Ticaret (Turkey), Valagro BioSciences LTD, Valagro (Shanghai) Trading Co Ltd and Valagro Brazil Manufacturing Industria e Comercio del Fertilizantes LtDA.

From its foundation to 2018 he served as Chairman of EBIC European Biostimulant Industry Council. He currently serves as Board of Directors member of IFA International Fertilizer Association (Paris), which includes 540 companies from 85 Countries, and member of IFA Strategic Advisory Team.
Javier Peris, Global Technical Support Manager at Syngenta Crop Protection

Javier Peris studied Biological Sciences at the University of Valencia and continued there to complete his doctorate in Biodiversity and Conservation. In October 2014, Javier joined Syngenta Crop Protection Basel in the Global R&D Insect Control team. Since 2017, he is working on the Global R&D Disease Control team. Currently, Javier also assumes biodiversity responsibilities to investigate and preserve the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes. Javier is an active collaborator of several Natural History Museums and international research centres thanks to his experience in natural enemies and parasitoid wasps that have allowed him to receive the Swiss Entomological Society Award and the Natural Science Award University of Valencia.
Gina Swart, Head Global Product Biology Disease Control, Syngenta

Gina Swart is currently the Head of Global Product Biology Disease Control and has worked at Syngenta since 2004. She leads the team responsible for developing innovative new disease control products for the evolving crop protection business with a strong focus on Biological disease control and Sustainable Agriculture.

She joined Syngenta as a Fungicide Development Manager with Syngenta in South Africa. She relocated to the Head Office in Basel in 2007, where she has held various technical positions within Global Product Biology. Prior to her current role she was Crop Protection R&D Lead for Diverse Field crops (Sunflower; Sugar beet and Oilseed Rape/Canola) responsible for leveraging the company R&D strength and technology breadth in disease control, insect control, weed control and Seedcare to deliver a pipeline of products for Diverse Field Crops.

Gina earned a PhD in Plant Pathology in 1999 at the University of Pretoria focusing on post harvest diseases of subtropical fruits and genetic diversity of the key pathogens. She spent several years doing basic and applied research on microbial ecology and biological control of postharvest diseases and developing molecular based diagnostic technologies to serve the citrus and subtropical fruit industries in South Africa.


Femi Oke
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Femi Oke, Journalist

Femi Oke is an international journalist, broadcaster and moderator. Since the 1980s, she has worked for BBC television and radio, Sky TV, all UK terrestrial television networks, CNN and US public radio. Oke’s reporting has been recognised by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Communications Agency and InterAction. She's British by birth, Nigerian by parentage and a Washingtonian by zip code.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 14:00 - 15:30 CET

  • The Syngenta approach to sustainability

  • Biologicals in sustainable agriculture

  • Biodiversity solutions in agricultural landscapes

  • What's next for Europe?