CropLife Europe (formerly European Crop Protection Association)

Background

CropLife Europe represents the crop protection industry in Europe. Its corporate members include BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC and Syngenta. [1] 

The organisation was known as the European Crop Protection Association until  January 2021, when it rebranded to CropLife Europe. Announcing the name change, CropLife Europe’s Director General Géraldine Kutas said in a statement that sustainable food models were “best achieved through a holistic approach, so an agile association representing a host of technologies under one roof will be better equipped to represent the integrated solutions needed to deliver sustainable agriculture and respond to the rapidly changing demands from society and evolving policy frameworks.” [18]

CropLife Europe says it promotes “modern farming practices and champions the use of crop protection technology important for the sustainable intensification of agriculture.” [2] 

CropLife Europe says it believes policy “should be informed by science and designed to manage risk.” It also says that it advocates for “a predictable and proportionate EU regulatory environment that fosters innovation and encourages competitiveness.” [2]

Stance on Climate Change

CropLife Europe runs a campaign called “More With Less” calling for more innovation in agriculture and precision farming to improve crop yields and efficiency. CropLife Europe says that a challenge for farmers is producing “the high-quality, safe, and affordable foods that consumers demand” whilst also “protecting and using less of the earth’s valuable – and limited – natural resources.” [3]


Read more: Digital and Precision Agriculture – Criticisms and Concerns


CropLife Europe encourages farmers to use no-till practices, where the soil is left undisturbed and not turned over, as it “moderates the effects of climate change.” It says that “certain crop protection products” assist with this by reducing the need to plough or till the soil, which prevents soil erosion and preserves biodiversity. CropLife Europe argues that pesticides, including glyphosate, are needed for farmers to use regenerative agriculture practices such as no-till. [4]

Soil is an important carbon sink that stores 10% of the world’s CO2. When soil is tilled, CO2 is released and contributes to global warming” the CropLife Europe tweeted in March, 2020. It says that “Crop protection products enable farmers to use sustainable practices such as no-till, keeping carbon in the soil.” [5]

Croplif Europe says that pesticides “facilitate” conservation tillage, which it says is a more sustainable technique for farmers to use in “preventing soil erosion & increasing carbon sequestration.” [6]


Read more: Regenerative Agriculture – Criticisms and Concerns


In 2018 the EU agreed to a total ban on using neonicotinoids on fields. CropLife Europe argues that the neonicotinoid ban in Europe is affecting harvests, biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions. It published an infographic, using data from a paper by scientific consultants HFFA, on the economic and environmental costs of banning neonicotinoids in the European Union. The infographic says that banning the pesticide results in additional greenhouse gas emissions, along with additional land required and more water consumption. It says the research paper was financed by Bayer Division Crop Science and Syngenta. [7], [8]

Role in Pesticides Controversy

According to the EU Transparency Register ECPA spent €410,000 running a “communication campaign which explains the benefits of pesticides” called ‘#WithOrWithout’.  ECPA argued for glyphosate use using the hashtag #glyphosateisvital. In a 2017 tweet, ECPA says that “glyphosate helps reduce CO2 emissions, minimise soil erosion & improve soil quality.” [9], [10]

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weed killer which the International Agency for Research on Cancer said in 2015 was “probably carcinogenic to humans” but was re-approved for use by the EU in 2017. In January 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a statement that said the EPA has concluded that “there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen.” [11], [12], [13]

Responding to MEPs voting on two own-initiative reports in 2016 — “Technological solutions for sustainable agriculture” from Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre, and “Enhancing innovation and economic development in future European farm management” from Liberal MEP Jan Huitema — ECPA said that “pesticides and other plant science innovations boost crop yields, minimise pre-and post-harvest losses and improve the efficient use of natural resources such as land, water and energy.” [14]

According to a 2017 report from NGO Corporate Europe Observatory, MEPs were invited by the Irish Farmers Association and the British Farm Bureau “in partnership with the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA)” to “discuss the possible impact of what a ban on Glyphosate could mean for EU agriculture sector”. [15]

Lobbying

According to the EU Transparency Register, ECPA spent between €600,000 – €699,999 on lobbying in 2019. ECPA has held 24 meetings with Commissioners, Members of their Cabinet or Director-Generals in the European Commission between 1 December, 2014 and 19 August, 2020. Its field of interests is listed as: Agriculture and Rural Development, Business and Industry, Competition, Consumers, Customs, Enlargement, Environment, Food Safety, Institutional affairs, Public Health, Research and innovation, Taxation and Trade. [9], [16] 

Funding

According to the EU Transparency Register, ECPA received no funding from the EU institutions during the 2018/19 financial year. CropLife Europe’s website doesn’t say how much funding it receives from members. [9]

Affiliations

ECPA has seven corporate full members: Adame, BASF, Bayer, Corteva, Nufarm, FMC and Syngenta. [1]

It has 24 full members associations, and 15 SME members listed on its website. It also has eight associate member organisations, including the UK‘s Crop Protection Association. [1]

ECPA is a member of CropLife International, European Chemical Industry Council, European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing and the Agri-Food Chain Coalition. [9]

In 2014, ECPA partnered with COPACOGECA and agricultural association Asaja to launch a photo exhibition on the new Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020. [17]

Resources

  1. Our Network,” European Crop Protection Association. Archived November 11, 2020. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/GbKte
  2. About Us,” European Crop Protection Association. Archived November 11, 2020. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/EQmob
  3. More with Less,” YouTube video uploaded by user crop protection on April 9, 2020. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  4. European Crop Protection Association. “Fertile & healthy soil is essential for agriculture & a sustainable #foodsupply. Certain #cropprotection products help reduce the need to plough or till, preventing soil erosion & preserving soil biodiversity. #Notill also moderates the effects of climate,” Tweet by @cropprotection, August 9, 2019. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  5. European Crop Protection Association. “Soil is an important carbon sink that stores 10% of the world’s CO2. When soil is tilled, CO2 is released and contributes to global warming. Crop protection products enable farmers to use sustainable practices such as no-till, keeping carbon in the soil.#PreparingTheGround,” Tweet by @cropprotection, March 9, 2020. Retreived from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  6. European Crop Protection Association. “#Pesticides facilitate conservation tillage, a more sustainable #farming technique preventing soil erosion & increasing carbon sequestration. #WithOrWithout,” Tweet by @cropprotection, April 18, 2018. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  7. Damian Carrington. “EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides,” The Guardian, April 27, 2018. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/lutrO
  8. Neonicotinoid ban hits farmers and the environment,” European Crop Protection Association. Archived November 11, 2020. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/MPotb. Archived .pdf of infographic on file at DeSmog.
  9. European Crop Protection Association,” EU Transparency Register. Archived November 11, 2020. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/G6OWL
  10. European Crop Protection Association. “Consider the facts: #Glyphosate helps reduce CO2 emissions, minimise soil erosion & improve soil quality #WithorWithout #glyphosateisvital,” Tweet by @cropprotection, October 4, 2017. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  11. Glyphosate,” Pesticide Action NetworkArchived November 9, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/AparD
  12. Arthur Neslen. “Controversial glyphosate weedkiller wins new five-year lease in Europe,” The Guardian, November 27, 2020. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/ivFY7
  13. EPA Finalises Glyphosate Mitigation,” US Environmental Protection Agency, January 30. 2020. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/iyvPB
  14. Parliament calls for technological and innovative solutions for farming,” European Crop Protection Association. Archived November 11, 2020. Archive.fo: https://archive.fo/gSy3t
  15. Last minute pro-Roundup lobbying ahead of high-level #MonsantoPapers hearing,” Corporate Europe, October 9, 2017. Archived November 11, 2020. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/T4uBQ
  16. European Crop Protection Association Meetings with European Commission,” European Crop Protection Association. Retrieved from DocumentCloud. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  17. Framing the future priorities of agriculture,” European Crop Protection Association. March 24, 2014. Archived November 11, 2020. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/cW68R
  18. ECPA becomes CropLife Europe”, Eurofruit,  January 8, 2021. Archived January 19, 2021. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/JdP4g

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