PAVING THE WAY FOR
INNOVATION IN PLANT SCIENCE
Message from CEO/Board Chair
Today’s farmers are utilizing plant science solutions that help them farm more sustainably, increase their productivity, and be accountable to the consumers whom they serve. We invite you to read our 2016 annual report, which showcases our commitment to helping farmers meet the global food security challenges ahead.
Promoted the Trade of Biotech Products at Multilateral Meetings
With biotech crops grown in increasing numbers in major agricultural exporting countries, it is essential that world leaders support sound, science-based trade policies for biotech products that do not inhibit innovation, development, technology transfer or capacity-building. After two years of intense preparation, CropLife International led the global industry delegation, comprised of over 40 individuals representing 15 countries from all agricultural regions of the world to bring that message to the 170 countries that are Party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety at their December 2016 meeting (COP/MOP-8). There, the Global Industry Coalition (GIC) served as an expert resource to the Parties while they took part in high-level regulatory and policy negotiations related to the guidance on environmental risk assessment, the use of socio-economic considerations in decision making, and the handling, transport, packaging and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) in trade. The GIC provided significant input into the intersessional meetings and the COP/MOP-8 negotiations and observed positive progress in a number of areas, ensuring that the transboundary movement of biotech products continues to protect biological diversity, while maintaining uninterrupted international trade and ensuring farmers have access to sustainable agricultural innovations.
Trained Farmers on Stewardship Best Practices
Ensuring that farmers are trained on the most environmentally sound and responsible methods for protecting their crops from pests is central for the plant science industry. In 2016, CropLife International partnered with the German sustainable development organization GIZ and the Vietnamese government on an initiative to train 15,000 Vietnamese rice farmers on Integrated Pest Management. It is the latest in a long-line of industry training initiatives, which have successfully trained more than 3 million people worldwide since 2005 to ensure continued responsible use of crop protection products.
In a further demonstration of the industry’s commitment to the responsible use of crop protection products, CropLife International also launched an e-learning tool in 2016 to help industry professionals learn about the International Code of Conduct for Pesticide Management. The tool is available in 14 languages and has already surpassed 6,000 users (including users from a sister tool created by CropLife Latin America). The Code is a voluntary standard for sound pesticide management practices, issued by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
Reinforced the Role for Biotech at International Forum
As world leaders look to feed a growing population in a sustainable way amid environmental challenges and societal pressures, they must consider the immense potential that plant biotechnology can play in helping farmers in the developing world create sustainable food systems and improve nutritional benefits of the food they produce. In February 2016, roughly 500 participants, including CropLife International, its member companies and global network, discussed this topic at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Biotech Symposium. The plant science industry participated in a 46-member private sector delegation at the forum and added its voice to the scientific and policy discussions between representatives of FAO member countries, intergovernmental organizations and other key stakeholders. Thus, the FAO confirmed its support for biotechnology in feeding current and future generations and announced its plans to host regional consultations with farmers around the world to continue discussing how agricultural biotechnologies could be adopted.
Affirmed Confidence in Crop Protection Products
CropLife International is dedicated to the protection of human health and the environment, while providing effective crop protection products for farmers to increase their agricultural productivity. In 2016, CropLife International members continued their voluntary commitment to manage potential risks posed by highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) by individually reviewing their product portfolios to identify products that met the HHP criteria and to take measures to manage any HHP risks. This also included increasing capacity building efforts for risk management in developing countries. The plant science industry is encouraging the FAO and other stakeholders to help ensure all parties adhere to risk-based management measures for user and public safety and to build capacity for risk assessment in developing countries. The approach to HHPs is part of CropLife International’s overall commitment to work constructively with international organizations to ensure the responsible use of crop protection products around the world so farmers can maintain and improve their production.
Celebrated 20 Years of Plant Biotechnology
Adopted faster than any other tool in the history of agriculture, biotech crops are now grown on over 180 million hectares in 28 countries by over 18 million farmers who choose to plant them again each year because of their many environmental, social and economic benefits. In 2016, CropLife International and its global network celebrated the 20-year anniversary since the cultivation of the first biotech crops through its Table for Twenty campaign.
The communications campaign brought together nearly 500 allies and industry visionaries at more than 20 dinner dialogues in 16 countries to reflect on the technology’s successes and discuss how this innovative crop technology can address future food challenges. Notable guests such as World Food Prize Laureate and plant biotech innovator Dr. Marc van Montagu and Julie Borlaug as well as many government representatives, scientists, academics, farmers, and industry experts participated. CropLife International developed many communications resources for the campaign, including an award-winning microsite and posted videos and photos from the regional events to social media as well as tweeted from the @TableforTwenty handle.
Elevated the Conversation on Endocrine Disrupting Substances
With ongoing public discussion of endocrine disruptors, CropLife International launched EndocrineScienceMatters.org in 2016 to publicly discuss the latest science on key issues and how crop protection products are tested for potential endocrine-disrupting effects to confirm their safety. The website discusses important topics such as endocrine-related diseases, low-dose effects and sensitive windows of exposure and vulnerable populations, as well as the available scientific evidence which supports maintaining current testing and risk assessment approaches related to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including crop protection products. Many epidemiologists, toxicologists and academics have provided their views on the website, calling for scientific balance into what has become a fiercely political and emotional debate. CropLife International also continues to play an important role as a private sector representative in international forums such as the United Nations’ voluntary Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) to work toward a risk-based regulatory environment for assessment of crop protection products.