ANNUAL REPORT 2019
Celebrating 15 years of crop diversity conservation
Crop varieties added+34K
Food Forever Experiences9
Grants provided for conservation$34.2M
ContributionsUSD 6 M
Accessions Conserved714 K
Updated accessions in Genesys4M
Crop accessions distributed66K
Countries receiving samples97
Sir Peter Crane – Executive Board Chair, Crop Trust
As we transition into a new phase of our work, we can do so confident in our ability to deliver on the vision of our founders.
Stefan Schmitz – Executive Director, Crop Trust
The importance of the global family of genebanks as fail-safes for our planet’s future food supply has never been so apparent.
What we do
The CGIAR Genebank Platform
This Crop Trust-led program ensures that the 11 CGIAR genebanks are running efficiently, that the crop collections they manage are conserved to a high standard, and that as many samples as possible are immediately available when needed.
Collecting Crop Wild Relatives
After six years, 4,644 seed samples of 371 different species of crop wild relatives from all over the world were collected and safeguarded.
Wild Seed, I Think I Love You
The work with crop wild relatives is transitioning from creating new materials to actually growing them in farmers' fields.
What we do
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is an iconic reminder of the remarkable effort taking place around the world to conserve the seeds of our food crops.
Supporting National Genebanks
Five genebanks in sub-Saharan Africa are the focus of a new Crop Trust project: Seeds4Resilience.
Strengthening information systems allows users to choose the exact crop diversity they need from thousands of samples.
Securing our Food, Forever
Our global crop conservation strategies describe the current status of conservation of major crop collections, and they attempt to identify the highest priority activities and resources required to safeguard the diversity of different genepools.
The Food Forever Initiative
Food Forever went around the world in 2019 – on a gastronomic and educational voyage – to celebrate the diversity of our foods.
An overview of the activities of the Crop Trust Executive Board and Donors’ Council.
Spreading the Message
Our audience is as diverse as the crop diversity we help safeguard.
Some of humanity’s most valuable global assets are being preserved in perpetuity so future generations can have diverse, healthy foods in increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions.
The Crop Trust deeply appreciates the support and commitment from its many donors, without whom none of our work would be possible.
Running the Numbers
A summary of the financial performance of the Crop Trust and its endowment fund.
Running the Numbers
The endowment fund
The endowment fund is the Crop Trust’s key financial instrument to fulfill its mission. Investment income generated by the fund is used to support genebanks that conserve crop diversity – the biological basis of agriculture. In 2019, donors contributed USD 6.3 million to the endowment fund.
The value of the endowment fund, including the KfW loan proceeds but minus amounts to be withdrawn to fund the genebank platform commitment, amounted to USD 313 million as at 31 December 2019 (2018: USD 273 million).
Size of the endowment
The endowment fund had a strong performance in 2019 with an overall return rate of 18.4%, compared to -8.8% in 2018. The Crop Trust is fortunate to have strong liquidity and a very long-term perspective. The endowment fund is highly diversified and structured for the long-term so that short-term market fluctuations, whether positive or negative, do not trigger structural changes to the strategic asset allocation of the portfolio. The investment objectives and policies of the Crop Trust permit the annual withdrawal of up to 4% of the endowment fund’s average market value over the previous 12 quarters, subject to the discretion of the Executive Board. In 2019, 4% (USD 9.1 million) was withdrawn, of which 98% was provided in long-term grants to the international genebanks of CGIAR.
In addition to building up the endowment fund, the Crop Trust supports the conservation of crop diversity in genebanks with annual funding. Combined with bilateral contributions from donors, the total contribution to CGIAR amounted to USD 11 million, up from USD 9 million in 2018. This annual contribution to CGIAR will rise to USD 13.35 million in 2020 and USD 15 million in 2021.
The Crop Trust is an official signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), an international framework for incorporating sustainability into investment decision-making. The Crop Trust believes that the application of the UN PRI improves the alignment of its investment portfolio with its overall mission and with the broader objectives of society. As part of its commitment, the Crop Trust undertakes annual PRI reporting and achieved “A” ratings in the reporting period 2018/19 in the areas of strategy and governance, listed equities, fixed income (corporate non-financial) and private equity.
Program and operational expenditure
The total expenditure of the Crop Trust was USD 36 million, of which USD 34 million related to program activities. The Crop Trust continues to follow a course of cost-effectiveness, which is vital in order to achieve its objectives and maintain the trust of donors and partners. In 2019, the Crop Trust Secretariat incurred expenditures for management and general services of USD 1.3 million, or 3.7% of total direct expenditures. Fundraising expenditure amounted to USD 0.2 million or 0.6% of total direct expenditure. Overall operational expenditures accounted for 4.3% of total direct expenditures in 2019, down from 5.71% in 2018.
The Financial Statements for the year ending 31 December 2019 were prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). They were audited by PriceWaterhouseCoopers GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft (PwC) with an unqualified audit opinion. PriceWaterhouseCoopers GmbH has served as the Crop Trust’s external auditor since 2013.
The Crop Trust’s financial strategy for 2020 is to continue to operate within budgeted resources; work with donors to secure operational and Genebank Platform support as well as endowment fund contributions; protect the endowment fund from income withdrawals where possible; deliver on our program commitments and seek out new program opportunities; prioritize cost management, procurement and efficiency initiatives and assess financial and investment risks on a regular basis. In 2020, we will continue to work with the Innovative Finance Working Group to implement the recommendations of the Donors Council and the Executive Board.
We thank all our donors and partners for their continued support, and for working with us to ensure that humanity conserves and makes available the world’s crop diversity for future food security.
The full Financial Statements and Independent Auditor’s Report can be downloaded below.