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Serving society better is a beautiful challenge. Hans Muilerman, Henriette Christensen, PAN Europe

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Presentation on theme: "Serving society better is a beautiful challenge. Hans Muilerman, Henriette Christensen, PAN Europe"— Presentation transcript:

1 Serving society better is a beautiful challenge. Hans Muilerman, Henriette Christensen, PAN Europe

2 PAN-Europe has 32 not-for-profit members in 19 European countries and a small staff unit in Brussels/London We bring together mainly health, environmental & consumer organizations We are working to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound alternatives Our goal is a productive, sustainable, climate-friendly farm system (IP), putting prevention first and minimizing (agrochemical) inputs; we build on coalitions with other parties who are seeking for a change in agriculture We have an extended network in Brussels (Commission, Parliament, Council) where we advocated many years for a good pesticide package Who we are & what we do

3 Food is pleasure and fun (EU barometer: citizens associate food in the first place with taste and pleasure)

4 …. but consumers are not sure The Euro barometer (Risk Issues, DG SANCO, 2006) indicates: 42% of citizens think food will damage their health, and…. on the so-called worry scale, the number 1 worry is pesticide residues (63% of all interviewed) along with other food worries like avian flue and antibiotics

5 And even without knowing the most disturbing facts, they KNOW

6 Present MRLs unsafe

7 Low doses unsafe for the unborn (many scientific studies available in literature) Effect 1: Developmental neurotoxicity: Adverse effects for doses ranging from 0,05-1 ppm (cf. residue detection limit same range) Examples: Chlorpyriphos, Carbaryl, Diazinon, Aldicarb Effect 2: Endocrine disruption: Adverse effects for doses ranging from 0,01-1 ppm (cf. residue detection limit same range) Examples: Quinalphos, Trifluralin, ETU/mancozeb Effect 3: Combination toxicity: Adverse effects of ppm-range combined Examples: group Organophosphates, group Triazines, group Endocrine Disrupting chemicals.

8 We are terribly close to Silent Spring (Presence of skylarks in arable areas, SOVON birdmonitoring, NL, 2005)

9 Bridging the gap. So, if you really want to get citizens trust, or at least get rid of a bad image: ensure there are no (food) risks anymore ensure food is not standard-quality, low on taste ensure production is done in an environmentally friendly way ensure consumers can link again to production by knowing the source of production or help realising regional production cooperate with those who are trusted by citizens

10 Who civil society trusts on risk communication?

11 Bridging gaps- retails effort Retail caught in consumer demands of healthy and easy eaten products, and even more caught in their endless price wars (nobody asked them to engage in this war) On the main demand (health) they are not trusted by their own consumers (the one trusted least worse gets the customers) To end food scandals they developed the Global GAP certification system which is a good step forward (but by far not enough) Now many retailers –as a next step- are working on the reduction of residues in vegetables and fruit, and some moving forward to residue-free products Only some front-runners working on high-quality products like IP or organic (most are trapped in the low-price emotion) Retail still long way to go, but they try

12 Bridging gaps- what about pesticides industry? Pesticide industry seems not to care too much about what society thinks and keeps on fuelling mistrust (GM/Frankenstein-food, ECPA lying about 85% EU-pesticides disappearing, Syngenta claim IPM is their core business, no industry action on bee colony collapse, etc.) This adds only to a bad history track record (DES, tobacco, lead, asbestos, drins, PFOS, bisphenol-A, etc) where concerns of society were not taken serious and company profit apparently was the major concern Now it looks like the major activity of industry is focussed on re-defining IPM or sustainable farming (website BASF: chemicals as a first choice); this will not help in making friends in civil society And the following example surely doesnt help very much in taking consumers concerns serious: In most cases, consumers fears tend to be increased through misinformation or a lack of knowledge, says a BASF manager (ANUGA, 2009). This hurts!

13 BASFs showcase Best Alliance with REWE (strawberries in Spain), good idea to engage in the supply chain Claiming: Strict implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) But no mentioning at all of the first four (!) levels which have priority over lower levels Sounds like undermining democratically set policy IPM hierarchy. Type of measures. 1. Prevention 2. Technical measures for cultivation 3. Systems for early warning and deciding 4. Non-synthetic chemical crop protection 5. Chemical crop protection and application techniques 6. Emission reduction

14 Realise high input agriculture is a dead-end street anyway MORE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE MORE BIODIVERSITY PRESERVED Example potatoes. # High input/high yield, NL: 40 Tonnes/ha. # Low input/good yield IP: Tonnes/ha. # Bulgarian average, 6 Tonnes/ha. Environmental effects. High input: -Climate ch. Nitrous ox: Climate ch. Soil org. M.: Biodiversity: Buffer zones: Low input: -Climate ch. Nitrous ox: - - -Climate ch. Soil org. M.: + Biodiversity: + Buffer zones: + Bulgarian ex.: - Climate ch. Nitrous ox: 0 -Climate ch. Soil org. M.: ++ Biodiversity: ++ + Buffer zones: + + +

15 Bee colony collapse This is what civil society really is very worried about One of the suspects is BASFs own Fipronil Here your chance to prove you want to listen to concerns of society and be of a service to citizens Where is BASF? On the side of the those causing a problem or those working on a solution? Why not temporarily remove Fipronil from the market? Why not organise big public stakeholder meeting? Why not offer bee keepers help with testing? On the moment you will be seen as a problem maker

16 How to serve society? Keep to the facts but also take citizens emotions serious There is nothing wrong with emotions, this is part of our humanity You will never win if you keep on resisting strongly felt emotions of citizens like no residues in food and water And you surely will never get trust of civil society Listen to citizens & consumers and start cooperating with those trusted by them Choose your position and be real So no cheating, if you claim sustainability you need to deliver cleaner water, more bees and birds, less climate change, increased soil fertility, etc.

17 How to serve society (cont.)? Your marketing department already understands perfectly well you have to deliver solutions More than being a marketing instrument, the solutions should be visible and recognizable for society An obvious thing to do is engage in the supply chain, like in the case of REWE But this time implement IPM as it is meant to be and defend the prevention-first principle Make business as chain manager (knowledge, inspirator, innovator, consumer expert) and earn much more because consumers pay more if you bring back pleasure and fun This will not be an easy transition but the alternative is mistrust for the next centuries

18 Finally We understand this is a message hard to swallow Finding common ground between BASF and PAN might be seen by many as a mission impossible Nothing is impossible Hope you will give it at least a bit of thought

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