Monsanto's Gabriela Burian: A Better World — It's a Family Affair

"As a mom, a critical part of my life is to convey to my children what's truly important; and what's more important than living in a just, environmentally sustainable world that's prosperous for all?" writes Burian.

Monsanto is No. 39 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list

(Originally published: LinkedIn on July 21, 2017)

Gabriela Burian

Earlier this week, an important meeting took place at the United Nations headquarters that is sure to profoundly impact our collective futures. The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened to review progress against the Global Goals for Sustainable Development at the global level.

In the Burian family living room, another important meeting was held.

My daughter, husband, son and I gathered to review our own progress against the Global Goals at an individual and community level. As a mom, a critical part of my life is to convey to my children what's truly important. And what's more important than living in a just, environmentally sustainable world that's prosperous for all?

That's the aim of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its accompanying 17 Goals, which were adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit.

The 2030 Agenda stresses collective action, and the Burians emphasize personal accountability. As a family, we support all 17 of the Global Goals, but each of us has a few that we hold most near and dear to our hearts. And we're each working to make them a reality.

Alice, my 16-year-old daughter, is particularly fond of Goal 4: Quality Education (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all). She recognizes that achieving inclusive and equitable education requires strong efforts, especially for vulnerable populations. That's why she's part of the Ladue Schools Helping Students club, which supports students at her school, among other important activities. Alice's actions also support another one of her favorites, Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all).

My 12-year-old son, Artur, has fully embraced Goal 15: Life on Land (Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss). Artur has been planting trees in our backyard for years, and he's recently begun participating in community efforts to do the same. Since trees absorb and store atmospheric carbon, a potent greenhouse gas, his efforts also support Goal 13: Climate Action (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts).

Eric, my husband, is the tinkerer of the family. He has applied his professional skills as an energy automation expert to bring home Goal 9: Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure (Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation). Eric automated our home heating and cooling system so that it kicks on when it detects motion, signaling that someone is home. That saves us money and conserves precious energy. He's now evaluating powering our household with solar panels, supporting Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy(Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all).

For my part, I adore Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development). In my job, I've been working with collaborations to deliver SDGs with Monsanto, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the UN CEO Water MandateSteering Committee and many more. But collaboration is not just what I do for a living, it's how I live. I'm a member of our local public school foundation board (Ladue Education Foundation) and active in many other community initiatives such as the Business and Community Partnerships.

Although we are all busy, we still find time for family. Coming together around the Global Goals has been an amazing family experience and has dramatically increased both the quantity and quality of the time we spend with each other.

In an age when young people are so often facedown toward their mobile devices, making the Global Goals a family matter is a great way to get them to look up and see what they can do to make the world around them a better place for everyone.

I would love to hear from you how you and your family are supporting the Global Goals here on the Linkedin or on the twitter at @gpburian

Gabriela Burian is senior director of sustainable agriculture at Monsanto

Monsanto Company Awards $500,000 Grant to T-REX to Support New Resource Center for Geospatial Innovation

Currently more than 200 small companies and start-ups are housed at T-REX, which is also located about two miles away from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency construction site.


Originally Published by Monsanto.

In its continued support of geospatial innovation, Monsanto Company has awarded a $500,000 grant to T-REX, a St. Louis based non-profit business and technology incubator to support the creation of a new Geospatial Resource and Innovation Center.

Read More Show Less

Monsanto and 2Blades Foundation Collaborate to Combat Devastating Soybean Disease

"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL.


Originally Published by Monsanto.

Monsanto Company and charitable organization 2Blades Foundation (2Blades) have formed a new collaboration to discover novel sources of genetic resistance to Asian soybean rust (ASR). 2Blades will deliver resistance genes in further collaboration with The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL, Norwich, UK), the leading global institute for research on plant-pathogen interactions, and the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), a leading university in agricultural sciences in Brazil.

Asian soybean rust, a disease caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, results in yellowing and browning of soybean leaves and can lead to premature senesence and significant yield loss. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), P. pachyrhizi has spread rapidly and causes yield losses from 10 to 80% in Argentina, Asia, Brazil, Paraguay, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.1

"Asian soybean rust is an ugly and expensive disease that can devastate farmers' harvests," said Jeremy Williams, Monsanto's biotechnology and ag productivity innovation lead. "Current fungicide treatments can provide some control, but farmers need more tools – and the 2Blades research could help provide a durable solution as part of an integrated pest-management system."

2Blades' mission is to contribute to global food security by developing crops with long-lasting resistance to pathogens in order to reduce losses due to disease. By working with world-leading plant scientists, 2Blades seeks to discover new sources of disease resistance in nature and transfer them into important crops to extend the breadth of their immune system and secure yields.

"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL. "It is therefore exciting to see that our scientific expertise and knowledge on plant-microbe interactions will be combined with Monsanto's capacity to deliver solutions to farmers to tackle a key challenge in soybean cultivation."

"The management of soybean rust requires the integration of different approaches, including disease resistance. This collaboration will allow us to use cutting-edge technologies to speed up the identification of new resistance genes that can be used to deliver more sustainable solutions to soybean farmers, reducing the environmental and economic impact of ASR," said Prof. Sérgio H. Brommonschenkel at UFV.

In January 2017, Monsanto, 2Blades and The Sainsbury Laboratory announced a collaboration focused on tackling corn disease complexes such as stalk and ear rots that have the potential to significantly reduce yield. That research is ongoing and is independent of this new collaboration.

The ASR collaboration complements Monsanto's work to expand the global crop protection toolbox while enabling farmers to produce more with less of an impact on the environment. 2Blades retains rights to deploy new leads arising from the program in crops for smallholder farmers in the least developed countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Soybean is a crop of significant and increasing importance in Africa, with extraordinary nutritional, soil, and economic benefits. However, the presence of ASR throughout the African continent is a major factor limiting production.

Monsanto: Mark Edge on WEMA, the Fall Armyworm and farmers in Africa

Mark Edge, Director of Collaborations for Developing Countries at Monsanto, talks about WEMA, the initiative that uses Bt maize to eradicate a harmful pest and help smallholder farmers in Africa.


By Mark Edge

Originally Published by Monsanto.

My work at Monsanto over the years has offered me many new challenges – lately I'm working with a team on the complex issue of helping smallholder farmers in Africa get better seed to help them manage the threats to their maize crops.

Read More Show Less