- Syngenta is obliged to conduct animal research to comply with legal and regulatory requirements
- Syngenta uses alternative methods of testing to minimize the use of animals.
- Syngenta only contracts with companies that meet the high standards of animal welfare and data quality which we and registration authorities require.
Syngenta considers the responsible use of animals in research and development to be ethically appropriate where alternatives are not available or where such use is mandated by legal or regulatory requirements.
Syngenta adopts a humane and compassionate approach to the care and use of animals and aims to operate to the highest professional standards, which requires continual review of procedures.
Syngenta has been at the forefront of developing techniques that replace, reduce or refine the use of animals in research. The company invests in developing alternative methods of testing, including cell cultures, in vitro techniques, computer modelling, bioinformatics and high-throughput screening.
Syngenta is committed to the development of agricultural, chemical and biotechnology products with the aim of improving the quality of food and health for humans and animals. To ensure the safety of these products for consumers, those working with the products and the environment, Syngenta has to conduct animal research to comply with legal or regulatory requirements.
Wherever appropriate, Syngenta supports the publication of scientific data from animal studies to avoid any unnecessary duplication of work and keep the use of animals at a minimum. Syngenta applies the same stringent standards to all uses of animals – this includes all scientific work contracted out.
The development of new crop protection methods and seed varieties is vital to improve the health and quality of food for humans and animals, while helping to reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment
Before any new product can be put on the market, companies and regulators need to be confident that any risk it presents is acceptable to humans, animals and the environment. As part of the safety assessment to evaluate these risks, it is a legal and regulatory requirement to conduct tests involving animals.
- Atrazine is one of most extensively researched crop protection products ever
- The U.S. litigation has no merit and should be dismissed
- Research conducted in independent labs showed no association between atrazine and declines in frog numbers - accepted by the EPA.
- No adverse effect of Atrazine products has been found on threatened / endangered species or on critical habitat.
With a safety dossier meeting the most stringent regulatory requirements, atrazine is among the best and most extensively researched crop protection products in the world. It has been the subject of hundreds of studies, 200 of them carried out over the last ten years. Syngenta is convinced of the safety of atrazine, which has been used safely and successfully by farmers for more than 45 years. The EPA has set a science-based standard for atrazine of 3 ppb in drinking water – a standard Holiday Shores has fully met over the last 10 years. In July 2008, the judge rejected a motion to dismiss filed by Syngenta
Syngenta ensures that residues of atrazine and all our crop protection products in water do not pose a health risk for consumers and that they are within the limits defined by authorities.
In nearly 50 years that atrazine has been on the market, scientists have seen no association between atrazine and declines in frog populations. Ongoing laboratory and field research by university scientists shows that atrazine has no effect on the survival, growth or limb deformities of frogs.
Atrazine is a selective herbicide used effectively in corn, grain sorghum, sugar cane and a range of other crops.
The Holiday Shores Sanitary District (HSSD) of Madison County, Illinois, U.S., is suing Syngenta and other registrants of atrazine because they believe that any trace amount of atrazine in drinking water is unsafe, even if the water meets federal standards.
Berkeley researcher Dr Tyrone Hayes has linked atrazine to cancer in humans, basing this on an enzyme common to humans and the frogs he uses in his work. Dr Hayes also claims that atrazine interrupts the endocrine system and mutates human hormones.
- Our business sustains and relies on biodiversity, the foundation for sustainable agriculture.
- We use the genetic diversity of the world's food crops to develop ways to increase their productivity, reliability and nutritional value.
Syngenta understands that agriculture can have an impact on biodiversity. We therefore engage in projects aiming to show what resources are required for providing high quality crops and a sustainable environment for both humans and wildlife.
One example is the partnership of Syngenta and Operation Bumblebee with the Earthwatch Institute to work with environmental researchers and volunteers. Their intention is to understand and disseminate the results of conservation measures on farms and raise awareness of the issues and opportunities for biodiversity conservation in agriculture.
Earthwatch is an international environmental organization which engages people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment.
- Biofuels help address the challenges of energy security and climate change.
- Syngenta supports current biofuels development to get to the next phase of efficient transformation of plant material into transportation fuel.
- The strong growth of biofuels has been influenced by geopolitical considerations and oil price changes.
- Plant expressed enzymes are a key future innovation from Syngenta - the only truly renewable sources we have are plants.
- Efficient biofuels production will help reduce competition for land and food and will have no greater impact on biodiversity than conventional crops.
Syngenta is involved in researching in developing crops that make biofuel production more efficient and sustainable. The opportunity that biofuels represent to Syngenta is not defined by one crop or one technology. As the largest global company fully dedicated to agriculture and plant science, Syngenta helps growers improve agricultural productivity and enhance the value of their crops in order to meet growing demand and reduce competition between food and fuel.
Plant expressed enzymes, such as corn amylase, offer great potential for improving ethanol production efficiency. Syngenta's tropical sugar beet allows sustainable ethanol production in the tropics, providing new opportunities for smallholder farmers in developing countries, and increasing production in marginal areas where the effects of climate change are most acute.
Second generation biofuels will use organic waste matter, and not the food part of the plant. Syngenta is actively involved in moving towards the next phase of efficient transformation of plant material into transportation fuel.
- Agricultural biotechnology can improve productivity, secure and improve yield and produce higher quality crops. It is critical to the sustainability of agriculture.
- If food production is to increase to meet projected population rises over the next generation, genetic modification and other biotechnologies should be available to growers as an option.
Biotechnology also offers significant benefits by supporting integrated crop management practices with efficient and environmentally friendly solutions to the challenges of farming.
GM food and feed products are the most extensively tested and regulated in the entire food sector. Testing by independent public authorities and scientists throughout the world, including national and international food standards bodies, continues to demonstrate the approved GM plants are just as safe as conventional varieties.
Current and future benefits from plant biotechnology extend beyond food products and ingredients. Research and development will generate new and cost effective production methods and improved products benefiting consumers, businesses and the environment.
- Syngenta is committed to the highest standards of corporate behavior and we adhere to the law wherever we do business.
- Syngenta works with the Fair Labour Association to monitor labor standards in seed supply chain
Syngenta does not employ individuals under the age of sixteen except as permitted by law and under circumstances that protect their welfare. As a responsible corporate citizen, the company is committed to the highest standards of corporate behavior and strictly adheres to the law wherever it does business.
Our contracts with seed producers clearly forbid the use of child labor and state that it will result in the termination of their contract.
The use of child labor has been recognized as an issue on farms, especially in developing countries, and in particular in parts of India. This is often part of a broader socio-economic problem particularly in rural areas with high levels of poverty and little opportunity for education or employment.
- Syngenta's products help farmers reduce their carbon emissions
- Syngenta is making its operations more energy efficient, and we encourage our entire value chain to do the same
- Syngenta has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% relative to EBIT by 2012 (2006 base)
The impact of a changing climate on agriculture creates new challenges and opportunities for Syngenta. We are addressing climate change by helping our customers to adapt to changing agricultural patterns and supporting their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. We are also making our operations more energy efficient, and encouraging our suppliers and others throughout our entire value chain to do the same.
Syngenta has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% relative to EBIT by 2012 (2006 base)
Increasing the productivity of agriculture on existing farmland can meet growing demand for food without expanding into forests and uncultivated land, which store large quantities of carbon. In addition, agriculture has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases through the production of crops for biofuels, a lower-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. However, agriculture also contributes to around 14 percent of total global man-made greenhouse gas emissions. These can be reduced by increasing carbon captured by plants and soils through sustainable agriculture.
Agriculture is vulnerable to changes in climate and weather patterns. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests growing seasons, water availability and crop productivity will all be affected by climate change. This raises concerns about future food supply and security.
Corn Amylase: Improving the efficiency and sustainability of first-generation biofuels
As recent headlines have shown, competition for corn grain for all uses is increasing. For the corn ethanol industry to sustain the level of contribution it currently makes to supplying US energy requirements, continued improvements in processing efficiency are critical. Corn Amylase is a high-value specialty grain that will be produced under contract by growers for use by dry grind ethanol plants. It could bring powerful benefits for the environment, growers and the overall renewable fuels industry by:
- Improving the overall efficiency and productivity of dry grind corn ethanol plants
- Reducing the carbon footprint of corn ethanol production
- Providing a critical technological bridge to future breakthroughs in cellulosic ethanol
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently evaluating Corn Amylase for deregulation. In August 2007 Corn Amylase completed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consultation process, confirming its safety. Although the primary market for this product is the United States, Syngenta has applied for import clearance into major markets around the world and has already received approvals in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the Philippines.
Learn more about Corn Amylase in the specific FAQ section
Crop Protection: EU Regulation of Active Ingredients
- EU legislation on the technical tools for agriculture production has to be science based and predictable.
- The consequences of the application of cut-off criteria will be that many products, already approved as safe when used correctly, will be removed from the market.
EU legislation on the technical tools for agriculture production has to be science based and predictable. This is the only way to provide European farmers with the technical tools to produce high quality, affordable food, and contribute to the socio-economic and environmental equilibrium of the rural districts in Europe.
The consequences of the application of cut-off criteria will be that many products, already approved as safe when used correctly, will be removed from the market.
Directive 91/414 CEE constitutes the regulatory framework that allows the commercialization of crop protection chemicals. 15 years after its introduction, the regulatory process has been updated.
Crop Protection: Impacts on Bees
- There are no negative effects on bees from our product Cruiser used as recommended according to laboratory and open field trials. This is supported by monitoring studies in France and Germany.
All Syngenta's crop protection products are thoroughly tested to ensure that there are no unwanted effects on beneficial insects such as bees or excessive residues in food or risks to human health. Regulatory authorities evaluate such studies before they approve a product to be marketed.
Syngenta has taken serious account of the difficulties encountered by beekeepers in general. In order to ensure the safety of its products, in particular Cruiser, Syngenta has carried out studies through beekeeping research institutes and laboratories in several countries. Syngenta knows that bees play a critical role in agricultural production. We support the importance of thoroughly researching the causes of bee health problems as well as all efforts to find remedies.
Using thiamethoxam as a seed treatment according to Syngenta recommendations, we did not observe any effect on mortality, colony as well as brood development (all larval stages present in the hive), pollinating activities and honey bee behavior throughout numerous trials conducted in laboratories as well as in the open field.
Cruiser was not implicated in any way in cases of bee mortality in southern Germany in May 2008. Dust off from competitor seed treatments was identified as the key issue in these cases. Syngenta has been working for years to minimize dust off, efforts which are now paying off and which allow the company to play a leading role in the development of quality criteria for insecticide seed treatments.
Crop Protection: Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
- Syngenta is in a unique position to address the needs of IPM, thanks to our comprehensive portfolio of seeds and crop protection products which enables us to provide high quality, effective and safe options for pest management.
- Linking our product offer with our knowledge and novel technologies we can provide tailor-made solutions to suit growers around the world. This enables them to meet customer requirements in terms of produce quality.
Syngenta is in a unique position to address the needs of IPM, thanks to our comprehensive portfolio of seeds and crop protection products which enables us to provide high quality, effective and safe options for pest management.
Linking our product offer with our knowledge and novel technologies we can provide tailor-made solutions to suit growers around the world. This enables them to meet customer requirements in terms of produce quality.
We encourage farmers to take an integrated approach to crop and pest management and we use every means to optimize food production and environmental protection in ways that are most appropriate in each circumstance worldwide.
IPM is a key component of sustainable agriculture. IPM programs aim to use every possible means to optimize food production and protection of the environment in ways that are most appropriate for every particular circumstance world wide.
Development: Subsistence Farmers
- Syngenta is committed to providing our technology, royalty-free, to benefit subsistence farmers in developing countries.
- Syngenta is committed not to pursue patent protection for any plant biotechnology or seeds invention in the least developed countries.
- "Golden Rice" is rice developed using genetic modification techniques to contain beta-carotene. When the rice is consumed, the beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A.
- The innovation brought with Golden Rice could lead to a highly effective, cheap and simple solution to a major health problem. Globally, an estimated 670,000 children die every year and another 350,000 go blind due to vitamin A deficiency. In Southeast Asia alone, over 90 million children suffer from vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency also affects women who are pregnant or nursing as their nutrient needs increase. For example, among pregnant women, vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness and may increase the risk of death during or shortly after their pregnancy.
Syngenta has supported the Golden Rice project and is proud to be associated with it and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which is the lead developer of the project, along with the inventors in a continuing commitment of the project. We have agreed with IRRI when needed to support the regulatory and stewardship aspects of the project during its advanced development phase to help bring the project to a successful conclusion. Although Syngenta has a significant interest in seeing the humanitarian benefits from this technology become reality, we have no commercial interest in Golden Rice whatsoever. Golden Rice is an exclusively humanitarian project.
Golden Rice was invented by Professor I. Potrykus, previously of the Institute for Plant Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, and by Dr P. Beyer of the University of Freiburg, Germany. It is a gift to resource poor farmers and consumers in developing countries by these inventors.
Syngenta, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) and both of Syngenta's legacy companies (Novartis and Zeneca) provided financial support and other resources to the inventors to support the development of Golden Rice for a period of time.
IRRI is now the lead developer of Golden Rice and is directly involved in breeding, capacity building, and safety research. IRRI has been working together, and continues to do so, with leading agriculture and nutrition research organizations such as the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), and Helen Keller International (HKI) to evaluate Golden Rice as a potential new way to reduce vitamin A deficiency. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the US Agency for International Development, and national governments are the current donors for the project.
Beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) is the orange pigment occurring in carrots and other highly colored vegetables that is converted in our bodies to vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is most prevalent in diets that are primarily cereal-based with little consumption of meat or fruit or vegetables.
The target is to provide nutritionally-enhanced rice that can reduce the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency, and thereby the mortality and occurrence of blindness in women and children in Asia due to this deficiency. The project is in an advanced development phase with an expectation of market entry in the Philippines after 2013.
The new Golden Rice materials produced in 2005 by Syngenta with the assistance of the inventors, and donated to IRRI in 2006, show higher levels of beta-carotene than the materials from the original Potrykus-Beyer work, and have been estimated, on the basis of the Tufts University School of Medicine led bioavailability study, to be able to meet much of the dietary requirements for vitamin A for those that need it.
- Syngenta supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO's Core Convention.
- Syngenta's Code of Conduct sets out our commitment to the highest standards of fair labor practice.
- High standards of health, safety, environment and labor practices are a priority for Syngenta.
Syngenta is committed to uphold the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization's Core Conventions. These forbid practices such as discrimination, child labor, bonded labor and slavery. This commitment underlies our actions in the area of child labor.
Our Code of Conduct sets out our commitment to the highest standards of fair labor practice. We monitor compliance with the Code of Conduct through our compliance hotline and a Letter of Assurance process.
High standards of health, safety, environment and labor practices are a priority for Syngenta – in our own operations and in those of our suppliers. Syngenta is working with suppliers to ensure they meet our HSE and labor standards through our supplier qualification procedures and audits.
Intellectual Property: General
- IP protection is commercially essential to any research based business
- Syngenta invested $969 million in R&D in 2008.
- Syngenta will not pursue or enforce patents and applications in seeds or biotechnology in any LDCs for private use by subsistence farmers.
- Syngenta implements a policy to allow the provision of technology, royalty-free, to benefit subsistence farmers in developing countries.
The protection of intellectual property is essential to any research based business with long term investment if it wants to stay commercially viable. Syngenta invested $969 million in R&D in 2008.
Syngenta is aware of its responsibilities as an owner of intellectual property and will not pursue or enforce patents and applications in seeds or biotechnology in any Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for private and non-commercial use as by subsistence farmers. Syngenta has a policy of allowing the provision of technology, royalty-free, to benefit subsistence farmers in developing countries.
Syngenta agrees that the "farmer's privilege" of saving seeds should be accorded as provided in the UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants) 1991 convention, i.e. all farmers are allowed to save seeds from protected varieties of certain plant species grown on their own farm, for use on their own farm, subject to the safe-guarding of the legitimate interests of the breeder, including fair royalties. No farm-saved-seed should be allowed for high-value crops, such as vegetables and flowers. Syngenta believe that for the sake of stewardship genetically modified crops should also be excluded from the farm-saved-seed exemption. Farm-saved seed by subsistence farmers for private, non-commercial use should be exempted from any remuneration obligations.
Syngenta supports the concept of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the principles of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), which were created to foster a fair use of biological resources. Syngenta carefully observes these principles in its partnerships and commercial planning and strongly objects to biopiracy or illegal bio-sourcing.
However, Syngenta believes that the enforcement of the CBD/ABS requirements should be kept separate from patent and other IP systems, but should be regulated by civil and/or criminal law. A mandatory disclosure in patents of the origin of biological material should be limited to the extent necessary for the enablement of the invention as such. This is already a requirement in the present patent law and does not need further amendments.
Any further disclosure requirements and the current debate about an extensive interpretation of certain terms in the CBD may create legal ambiguity about patents based on biological resources, may discourage the use of bio-resources, and may thus contradict the intention of the CBD.
A patent is an exclusive right granted by the law to an inventor to manufacture, use or sell a particular invention for a limited number of years in a specified territory (intellectual property rights).
Patents can be granted for any technological process or product as long as it is new, inventive and has an industrial application. Details of the invention are then published in the granted patent, thereby widening access to new technologies and stimulating scientific knowledge.
Patents are essential to allow inventors to recover the investment they have made in an invention by preventing competitors from copying it for a specified time. This safeguards and promotes investment in scientific research and the development of new technologies. For developing nations in particular, a robust framework of intellectual property rights can encourage the growth of domestic industry and boost foreign investment.
A biotechnology invention is treated no differently to any other invention: it must be new, inventive and have an industrial application. Unaltered genetic material in its natural environment is not patentable.
Intellectual Property: "Terminator Technology" and Gene use restriction technologies (GURTS)
- Syngenta has nothing to do with the terminator technology patent and has a policy not to use the technology (US patent to D&PL,1998).
- Syngenta is not involved in GM potatoes and is not involved in so-called "terminator technology" in potatoes or anything else.
Syngenta has nothing to do with this patent and has a policy not to use the technology it describes.
Following several enquiries about Syngenta's intentions in regard to the hypothetical "terminator potato", Syngenta confirmed, in a letter to the Indigenous Coalition against Biopiracy in the Andes, that it does not dispute or oppose anyone's right to use or reuse potato planting material.
Syngenta does not believe that there is any "terminator potato" in existence and neither we nor, to the best of our knowledge, our competitors, nor anyone else, are involved in developing one. Syngenta is not about to commercialize any "terminator potato" and has no plans to do so.
Syngenta is not involved in GM potatoes and it is not involved in so-called "terminator technology".
The term "terminator technology" refers to the technology covered by a US patent No. 5,723,765, entitled "Control of Gene Expression" which was granted to Delta & Pineland in 1998. This patent describes a process whereby seed fertility can be inhibited.
Certain gene restriction techniques (characterized as GURTS) involving the control of the activity of genes in plants could bring a variety of benefits for farmers and consumers.
These include boosting the natural disease or pest resistance abilities within a crop plant during susceptible periods of growth, reducing losses after crops have been harvested, or helping avoid frost damage by controlling the timing of plant development.
Intellectual Property: The Rice Genome
- A substantial scientific achievement, the sequencing of the rice genome will leverage the development of improved food cereals.
- Syngenta understands the importance of the rice genome to world food and agriculture and has made the information freely available for humanitarian purposes to public sector researchers.
- IP rights related to the rice genome will not be enforced by Syngenta in least developed countries against non-commercial use by subsistence farmers.
Landfill sites in the region of Basel
- The Basel Chemical Industry takes all necessary steps to avoid immediate or long-term risks to the public.
- Syngenta supports responsible waste management practices.
- Syngenta has worldwide environmental provisions of $450 million
- Syngenta makes provision of an adequate amount for the Basel area remediation.
- A separate fund is not a necessary step towards a sustainable solution for the former waste sites
- Syngenta has close contact with authorities and we will meet all our responsibilities
No immediate risks have been found which might suggest an acute hazard to man or the environment, and no health-threatening impact on ground water quality in the Basel region has been detected.Notwithstanding its commitment to assume responsibility for the landfill sites, Syngenta can neither participate in the Novartis trust nor contribute to it.
Syngenta has worldwide environmental provisions of $450 million. This includes an adequate amount for the Basel area remediation. A separate fund is not a necessary step towards a sustainable solution for the former waste sites. Syngenta has close contact with authorities and will meet our responsibilities
The interest group for landfill safety of the region of Basel (IG DRB) is managing, on schedule, investigations of eleven sites in the region of Basel. These sites were used between 1945 and 1960 to dispose of waste and production residues from the chemical industry of Basel, among others.
The investigations are complex, as the sites have had many owners and operators, and consist of a broad variety of different types of waste. Extensive analytical investigation programs have been defined in close cooperation with the responsible national, regional and local authorities. Proposals on the future organization of the Basel Chemical Industry for the purpose of the management of the landfill sites are under consideration.
No health-threatening impact on ground water quality in the region has been detected; nevertheless in some cases the experts recommend remediation.
- Organic production methods can fit into integrated farming systems when the products and methods used are safe, effective and economic.
- Organic production methods and food products represent a legitimate personal choice and occupy a valid position in the market.
- Organic agriculture by itself is not resource-efficient enough to meet the food demands of today and the future.
- Truly sustainable solutions to farming should integrate all available modern crop protection technologies and plant varieties.
Today's agriculture is faced with serious challenges. There is less land available for farming because of urbanization. There is less water because of increased industry, agricultural and urban requirements. There is more pressure on food security as populations increase. Agriculture can only meet the challenge to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050 while protecting the environment by ensuring that farmers have full access to all available technologies and, by this means, unlocking the huge potential of plants.
Farming strategies that integrate the best combination of cultural, biological and chemical measures to manage crops according to local conditions help optimize resource use while protecting the long-term viability of agriculture. Integrated farming is not based on a rigidly defined form of crop production, but is a dynamic system which adapts and makes sensible use of the latest research, technology, advice and experience and takes into account local soil, climatic and economic conditions. This inclusive view provides the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable method of managing crops.
Organic production methods which rely on a limited range of controls for pests, diseases and weeds can fit into integrated farming systems when the products and methods used are safe, effective and economic. For example, the products in Syngenta's BioLine range help make this possible.
Organic production methods and organic food products represent a legitimate personal choice and occupy a valid position in the market. However, there is no evidence that organic agriculture is safer or more environmentally-friendly than other types of production, or that it is resource-efficient enough to meet the demands of today and the future.
The biggest challenge of organic agriculture is that it suffers from lower yields - one study from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency found that, area-for-area, organic farms of potatoes, sugar beet and seed grass produce as little as half the output of conventional farming. Norman Borlaug, "father of the green revolution," and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, asserts that organic farming practices can at most feed 4 billion people, and only after drastically expanding croplands.
Syngenta is convinced that sustainable and efficient solutions to farming should integrate all the available modern crop protection technologies and advanced plant varieties.
Organic agriculture is a method of farming that promotes the use of only naturally occurring chemicals or traditional remedies to control pests and diseases.
- Paraquat has a vital role in food production.
- Paraquat is effective, environmentally beneficial in respect of water, soil and carbon emission.
- Paraquat is perfect for the practice of sustainable agriculture.
- Paraquat improves lives in poorer countries, for example by requiring less hand weeding.
- Generic producers of paraquat offer no stewardship and lower quality standards.
- Paraquat has been used for over 40 years in over 100 countries by millions of farmers.
Paraquat is one of the world's most effective and most environmentally beneficial herbicides with an important role to play in increasing agricultural productivity in a sustainable way, and with unique benefits including fast burn-down activity, rapid deactivation in the environment, crop safety, and sustainable weed management.
Paraquat is and will continue to be vital to meet the increasing demand for food, fiber and fuel from agriculture.
Farmers in more than 100 countries continue to benefit from using paraquat because of its unique qualities, which include fast contact action and rapid deactivation in the soil. Paraquat also helps combat soil erosion, by preserving weed roots which bind the soil. It is widely used in minimum tillage agriculture which is more favorable for the absorption of carbon dioxide than traditional cultivation.
Paraquat improves people's lives in developing countries by enabling farmers and their families to escape the constant requirement for hand weeding, which is a burden for millions of people in subsistence farming and underdeveloped rural communities.
Syngenta has comprehensive data that demonstrate the safety of paraquat for users, consumers and the environment. The company is committed to promoting the safe use of all its products, including paraquat, through extensive stewardship and training. In 2007, these programs reached more than 3.4 million farmers worldwide.
Gramoxone has reduced the need for mechanical weed control and hand-weeding and has played an essential role in the development of environmentally friendly minimum or zero tillage practices.
The use of Gramoxone has allowed millions of families, particularly women and children, to take advantage of opportunities outside manual agricultural work by removing the time consuming chore of weeding by hand. It has also allowed the development of no-tillage systems, safeguarding many millions of hectares of land susceptible to erosion, to be farmed by future generations.
Syngenta has decided not to pursue a re-submission for the registration of paraquat in Europe, as John Atkin, Chief Operating Officer of Crop Protection, announced on 6 February 2009. Re-submission would require significant expenditure to conduct regulatory studies that we believe are not necessary given the robust state of our database. These costs outweigh the product's limited market opportunities in the region.
This decision in no way affects Syngenta's commitment to maintain and support its paraquat registrations worldwide. Paraquat is an important tool in agriculture and Syngenta commits more than $15 million annually to global stewardship programmes to assure the safe and sustainable use of paraquat and other Syngenta crop protection products.
Paraquat is one of the most extensively researched products ever, registered in over 100 countries, and successfully used for more than 40 years by millions of farmers. Syngenta's paraquat, Gramoxone®, is supported by industry leading stewardship programs in all territories. The active ingredient – paraquat – binds strongly to soil and is rapidly inactivated through this process. The product causes no damage to crops through root uptake. Paraquat does not leach or cause water contamination and is used in over 120 countries including those with the most demanding regulatory systems – USA, Australia, Canada, and Japan.
Syngenta has for many years run extensive stewardship programs in both developed and developing countries, teaching farmers and their families how to handle agricultural chemicals safely. The company is committed to continuing and expanding these stewardship programs globally.
A July 2007 EU court decision revoked paraquat registrations finding that the Commission's review failed to satisfy certain requirements. At no stage did the Court conclude that paraquat was an inherently unsafe or dangerous product.
SYNGENTA'S EXTENSIVE PARAQUAT DATABASE IS SCIENTIFICALLY COMPREHENSIVE AND COMPLETE AND HAS BEEN REVIEWED AND ACCEPTED BY MANY REGULATORY AUTHORITIES AROUND THE WORLD INCLUDING USA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND JAPAN.
Syngenta's objectives are:
- to develop and promote programs to minimize soil erosion and maintain or even improve soil productivity;
- to improve water quality and promote efficient water use;
- to help preserve biodiversity through the conservation of germplasm;
- to contribute to the long term success of agricultural practices.
Syngenta's activities are critical to sustainable agriculture. We help farmers worldwide to feed growing populations and to be responsible stewards of the land. Agricultural land cannot expand significantly without negative effects on biodiversity. Our technology and products help growers meet this challenge and raise yields on existing farmland under cultivation.
Syngenta regards sustainable agriculture as an essential element of our business strategy to meet the needs of key customers and provide competitive advantage. To achieve this, we are creating product portfolios from sustainable agriculture principles and supported by appropriate knowledge and services. We are also driving development of novel business opportunities where sustainable agriculture dimensions provide clear added value/ and competitive advantage, and we are building partnerships to support our customers in implementing sustainable agriculture in practice.
Sustainable agriculture aims to optimize the use of resources while protecting the long-term economic viability of farming. This is achieved through modern crop protection technologies (for instance, herbicides for soil conservation practices) in association with advanced plant varieties, including those developed using biotechnology. This results in sustainable production of healthier, stronger crops resistant to diseases and contributes to abundant, high quality food.
Agriculture should make optimal use of available soils, improved by plant nutrients, to achieve an economically viable production under local climates and with the help of the available biodiversity. The challenge of sustainable agriculture is to preserve this productive combination while optimizing rural incomes.