Bayer

Background

Bayer is a life sciences company headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany. Bayer has three divisions: pharmaceuticals, consumer health and crop science. The Bayer Group comprises 374 consolidated companies in 83 countries.1Bayer AG (Bayn),”MarketScreener. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/B220t 2Names, Facts, Figures about Bayer,” Bayer. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gMHBy 

Following a 2018 deal, the pesticides giant Monsanto was folded into Bayer’s Crop Science division. Bayer’s Crop Science division lists four “fields of activity”: crop protection, seeds, digital farming and environmental science.“3Organization Chart,” Bayer. September 1, 2022. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/76UYy

Agrochemicals comprise 45.8 percent of Bayer’s annual global sales revenues. In 2021, the majority of Bayer’s sales were in the United States at 30.4 percent, followed by the combined Europe, Middle East  and Africa markets at 24 percent, Asia-Pacific at 11.3 percent, China at 8.7 percent, Brazil at 7.9 percent, Latin America at 7.2 percent and Germany at 5.8 percent.4Bayer AG (Bayn),”MarketScreener. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/AzvlD 

Bayer has reportedly received £600 million from the UK government coronavirus pandemic bailout fund.5Zach Boren. “Pesticide Giant gets £1BN bailout despite mammoth dividend plan,” Unearthed, June 4, 2020. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/lkHmh

In a March 2021 presentation titled “The Beginning of What’s Next,” Crop Science Division Head of Research & Development Bob Reiter estimated that the new plant protection products and technologies in Bayer’s production pipeline would generate €30 billion in new sales by 2030. Reiter also estimated that advanced breeding and data science technology applications for soybean and corn seeds would have a combined sales potential of around €16 billion.6The Beginning of What’s Next,” Bayer. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
Archived November, 16, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/wip/jG44Z
 

According to the presentation, Bayer plans to launch over 75 new fungicide, insecticide and herbicide formulations in the next decade. The company’s sales estimates for its fungicides, pesticides and herbicides is a total of €8 billion. As of March 2021, Bayer leads the global agribusiness industry in funding for research & development, spending €2 billion and employing over 7,000 R&D employees across 50 countries.7The Beginning of What’s Next,” Bayer. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archived November, 16, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/wip/jG44Z

In January 2022, Claire Berringer joined Bayer as European Parliament relations manager. She was formerly a Parliamentary and Communications Adviser for the British National Farmers’ Union (NFU).8Lili Bayer. “EU Influence: Starting a consultancy during COVID — Media renews DSA blitz — Moving into Warsaw,” Politico Europe, January 21, 2022. Archived January 21, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Fvelk

Stance on Climate Change

Bayer has committed to achieving a 30 percent reduction of “the field greenhouse gas footprint of our farming customers” by 2030. The company states, “Although agriculture is a contributor to climate change, the industry plays a role in curbing greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen oxide that contribute to climate change.”9Shaping Agriculture,”Bayer. Archived November 7, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/b5d3F 

On its website, Bayer references a study by Cranfield University on the carbon footprint of crop protection products, which “concluded that for one kilo of CO2 equivalent invested in the manufacture and use of pesticides, at least 10kg of CO2 is removed from the atmosphere as a result of yield increases attributed to that pesticide use.”10Crop Science // UK,” Bayer. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/DcqlH The study was commissioned for the Crop Protection Association and published in August 2009.11E. Audsley et al. “Estimation of the greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural pesticide manufacture and use,” Cranfield University, August 2009. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/OcI8f

Bayer encourages farmers to use “climate-smart” practices, such as no-till farming, to combat climate change, according to an article from 2020. It says that soil is one of the most effective carbon sinks. The firm wants to incentivize farmers to “embrace no-till, precision nitrogen use or cover crops” to help “further sequester carbon into the soil, reduce fossil fuel usage and reduce greenhouse gases.”12Bayer takes steps to make carbon sequestration a farmer’s newest crop opportunity,” Bayer, July 21, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/ip8Zg

During a Bayer-sponsored segment at the 2022 Politico Future of Food and Farming Summit, Bayer promoted three innovations “for a productive, sustainable future”: next  generation [plant breeding] techniques (NGTs), cover crops, and no-till farming. Bob Reiter, head of research and development at Bayer Crop Science Division, stated: “One of the best things farmers can do to ensure carbon stays in the ground is not to till.”13Bob Reiter, Head of Research and Development, Crop Science Division Bayer, “Sponsored segment by Bayer – Agri-protection: innovating for a productive, sustainable future,” POLITICO Future of Food and Farming Summit 2022, September 29, 2022. Archived January 26, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

In its 2022 response to the European Commission’s proposal to revise EU pesticide laws, Bayer stated: “Pesticides can also play a role in enabling agriculture to lower greenhouse gas emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere: they reduce the need for farmers to till their soil, which in turn leads to reduced fossil fuels consumption and soil disturbance.”14Bayer AG. “Our views on Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation,” European Commission, September 19, 2022. Archived November 21, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The benefits of no-till farming are widely considered to be unproven, and studies suggest that no-till farming may increase the use of pesticides.15Kerstine Appunn. “Carbon farming explained: the pros, the cons and the EU’s plans,” Clean Energy Wire, March 23, 2022. Archived October 26, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/3AseU

A 2019 video by Bayer about climate change states that farmers “are uniquely positioned” to combat climate change. Farmers can achieve this by planting genetically modified seeds, according to the video, which “[enable] farmers to use reduced tillage and no till practices, which has resulted in a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”16Give It a Minute: Climate Change,” YouTube video uploaded by user Bayer Crop Science on February 15, 2019. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

In July 2020, Brett Begemann, chief operating officer of Bayer’s Crop Science Division, said “if anyone has a vested interest in battling climate change, it’s farmers.” Begemann praised farmers for being “passionate environmentalists and stewards of the lands they farm.”17Bayer takes steps to make carbon sequestration a farmer’s newest crop opportunity,” Bayer, July 21, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/ip8Zg

In 2020, Bayer was one of more than 60 companies to call for the German government’s pandemic-related aid to be tied to climate action. “We appeal to the federal government to closely link economic policy measures to overcome both the climate crisis and the coronavirus crisis,” the firms stated in a joint letter.18German companies call for COVID-19 aid to be tied to climate action,” Reuters, April 27, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/yDKPh

In August 2020, the Science Based Targets initiative — a partnership between the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, and We Mean Business to increase corporate ambition on climate change — stated that Bayer was playing its part in limiting average global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.19Science based targets initiative endorses climate protection targets of Bayer AG,” Bayer, August 21, 2020. Archived November 19, 2020. Archive URL:  https://archive.vn/QvtOH 

In a press release following this endorsement, Werner Baumann, Bayer’s chief sustainability officer, said, “this is a crucial step as we pursue our big target of becoming climate-neutral by 2020. It shows we aim to live up to our responsibility as a leading life science company in the fields of healthcare and nutrition. Climate change poses a threat to the whole of humanity and we need to be absolutely determined in tackling it.”20Science based targets initiative endorses climate protection targets of Bayer AG,” Bayer, August 21, 2020. Archived November 19, 2020. Archive URL:  https://archive.vn/QvtOH 

In a November 2020 op-ed in The European Files, a policy magazine written for employees of  EU institutions, Volker Koch-Achelpohler, Bayer’s public affairs chief for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, wrote:21Volker Koch-Achelpohler. “A coherent European Green Deal for the next generations,” The European Files, November 25, 2020. Archived December 30, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/35xJv 

“Without modern crop protection solutions, integrated weed management, new breeding techniques, digital agriculture and carbon farming, there will be no reduction in environmental impact. On the contrary we will see an acceleration in environmental degradation, as the world population is growing and more people access the middle class.”

The company has downplayed the impact of pesticide use on biodiversity loss. In September 2022, Bayer told the European Commission, “although pollution (including the sub-category of direct effects of pesticide) can play a role in some places and conditions, because of stringent chemical’s regulation it is usually a minor one for approved uses.”22Bayer AG. “Our views on Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation,” European Commission, September 19, 2022. Archived November 21, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Scientists have identified pesticides as a key driver of biodiversity loss.23Tim G. Benton, Carling Bieg, Helen Harwatt, Roshan Pudasaini and Laura Wellesley. “Food system impacts on biodiversity loss – Three levers for food system transformation in support of nature,” Chatham House, February 2021. Archived August 2, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. In 2020, The US Environmental Protection Agency published a draft evaluation which found that glyphosate alone – the world’s most popular pesticide and a key ingredient of Bayer’s roundup – was likely to harm 93 percent of endangered species and 96 percent of their habitats.24Sam Bloch. “New EPA finding: Glyphosate harms 93 percent of endangered species,” The Counter, February 12, 2020. Archived October 25, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/r14ub

Digital and Precision Agriculture

Agriculture reporter Ryan Ridley has described Bayer as “taking a leadership position” in precision agriculture technology in a piece for Farms.com.25Ryan Ridley. “Bayer takes efficiency to new heights,” Farms.com, July 26, 2018. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/jpg3L Bayer sells a range of software and other technologies for digital and precision farming.

Bayer says that “digital solutions help limit the waste of resources, help improve farmers’ bottom lines and minimize agriculture’s impact on the environment,” adding that “new technologies are helping drive efficiencies on the farm.”26Enabling Farmers To Get The Most Out Of Their Fields While Using Less Land and Fewer Inputs,” Bayer. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/gpLPj The company also claims that digital agriculture can help farmers “make better use of their time and resources to focus on what matters most at any given time. That’s better for them, for their operation and for our planet.”27Digital Farming,” Bayer. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Y2rv1

Adrian Percy, the former head of research and development for Bayer’s crop science division, echoed this stance, telling Euromoney that decades of innovation have increased the effectiveness and efficiency of farming, and that the “lack of available farmland and challenges such as climate change have now brought us to a breaking point. We need new thinking, tools and products.”28Helen Avery. “Finance for a Farming Revolution,” Euromoney, October 8, 2019. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/32juC

In a 2016 article, Mother Jones reporter Tom Philpott suggested that Bayer was in the process of acquiring Monsanto because of its “heft in the data market,” including prior investments in precision agriculture and Monsanto’s acquisition of the Climate Corporation startup in 2013.29Tom Philpott. “Robots are growing tons of our food. Here’s the creepy part,” Mother Jones, September/October 2016. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/tN7HB However, a report by Lux Research argued that while Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto was a winning deal in some ways, it would weaken Bayer’s precision agriculture entity due to Monsanto’s “nonsensical” investment approach in “unproven” technologies.30Bayer-Monsanto entity will be weak in precision agriculture,” HortiDaily, January 12, 2017. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/EYFKS

Environmental NGOs like Friends of the Earth have suggested that the introduction of precision technologies and data platforms like those owned by Bayer could give a small number of agribusiness giants unprecedented control over the food system. “This new form of vertical integration allows corporations to extract data from farmers and then use this to direct their product choices, locking farmers into the company’s value chain and making them technologically dependent,” writes Friends of the Earth’s Mute Schimpf.31Mute Schimpf. “Digital Farming: Can digital farming really address the systemic causes of agriculture’s impact on the environment and society, or will it entrench them?” Friends of the Earth, February 2020. Archived November 9, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

In July 2020, Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s Crop Science division, said that farmers need access to technology and urged policy-makers to “ensure a predictable, science-based regulatory system across the food chain.”32Liam Condon. “Opinion: the most resilient people in the world? Farmers,” AgriPulse, July 22, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/UjRQV

In a sponsored post for Politico in November 2019, Condon argued that innovation was key to the future of farming and that new technologies, like precision agriculture and plant breeding tools, were “lessening agriculture’s ecological footprint.”33Liam Condon. “Farming’s Future Belongs to All of Us,” Politico, September 26, 2019. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/YLtuX

In 2016, Bayer’s ForwardFarming initiative, a knowledge platform that “fosters dialogue and showcases on-farm sustainable practices with farmers,” teamed up with Belgium-based Ghent University to conduct research into smart farming solutions, including precision agriculture and resource management.34Bayer ForwardFarming Initiative: Demonstrating Sustainable Agriculture in Practice,” Bayer. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/YBeee 35Bayer endowed Chair ForwardFarming,” Ghent University, September 10, 2019. Archived September 19, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/4fJ9G

In the run up to the 2018 World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, Bayer Climate Corporation CEO Michael Stern said that artificial intelligence was “helping shape the future of farming.”36Interview with Michael Stern – BAYER,” World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, September 15-16, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/0wiYT

In late 2017, Chemical and Engineering News reported that Bayer and American biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks were forming a joint venture, Joyn Bio, to invest US$100 million in a farm that would “exploit the potential of synthetic biology to improve microbes that help plants grow.37”Melody M. Bomgardner. “Bayer, Ginkgo launch microbe company,” C&En, September 18, 2017. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/tIPij 

Joyn Bio in 2019 expanded to include another partner, NewLeaf Symbiotics, which specializes in products involving nitrogen-fixing microbes. “The potential to pair our platform for microbial engineering with NewLeaf’s microbes will bring unprecedented performance to biological agriculture solutions,” said Joyn CEO Mike Miille.38Melody M. Bomgardner. “Ginkgo, Bayer venture taps NewLeaf for plant microbes,” C&En, July 22, 2019. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/tIPij 

In 2020, Bayer participated in Internet of Food and Farm, an EU-funded project which aims to “make precision farming a reality” with the help of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.39The precision agriculture revolution is here- see it in action!AgNews, May 3, 2019. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/fHfOd 40Introducing Internet of Food and Farm 2020,” IOF2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/k22Fj 

In early 2020, Bayer’s Climate Corporation and Tillable, a farming lease and rental management platform, faced social media backlash after farmers raised concerns about data sharing between the two companies.41Emiko Terazono. “Bayer Ends Digital Farming Agreement After Twitter Backlash,” The Financial Times, February 16, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/LQZkS

Jason Davidson of Friends of the Earth has criticized Bayer’s digital platform, describing it as “another attempt to sell more toxic products, monetize farmer data and maintain control of our food system.”42Jason Davidson. “Following $10 BN roundup settlement, Bayer uses climate program as front to lock in control of farmer data and sell more roundup,” Friends of the Earth, August 17, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020, Archive URL: https://archive.vn/mNR9f

Subsequently, Bayer’s Climate Corporation was forced to end its partnership with Tillable. Mike Stern, chief executive of the group, said at the time, “we have not, do not and will not share or sell our customers’ personal information or farm data.”43Emiko Terazono. “Bayer Ends Digital Farming Agreement After Twitter Backlash,” The Financial Times, February 16, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/LQZkS

In September 2021, Bayer sponsored Politico Europe’s Future of Food & Farming Summit. In his opening remarks, Bruno Tremblay, Bayer’s regional head of Europe, Middle East and Africa for the crop science division, said: “We fully support the Green Deal climate targets, but we also believe that making Europe the first climate positive continent with resilient food systems can only work if every farmer in the European Union gets access to climate smart tools and get rewarded for implementing them for agriculture to leap forward.”44Opening Session & Interview with Tom. J. Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture | FFFS,” YouTube video uploaded by user Politico Europe, September 24, 2021. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Corporate watchdog organization Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) has suggested that Bayer and other agribusiness companies have promoted digital and precision farming as playing a key role in the EU’s climate action. According to CEO, “this includes demands to allow aerial spraying of pesticides again (which is banned under the current rules, except under specific derogations) – but via drones.”45A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork.Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive PDF: https://archive.ph/hpFb3 Aerial spraying of pesticides has been criticized by environmental and health organizations because pesticides can fall on areas other than crop fields.46Introduction to Pesticide Drift,” United States Environmental Protection Agency. Archived November 26, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/FEpgA 

According to CEO, Bayer and CropLife Europe lobbied DG Sante for approval of application of pesticides by drone, claiming that they “insist[ed]” that it should be recognised in revised pesticide regulations.47A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork.Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hpFb3

The Commission announced in the proposed revision of the EU’s Sustainable Use of Pesticide Directive that it planned to allow aerial drone application, a step that Bayer “welcome[d]” in its public consultation response to the proposal. Bayer also suggested that Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy – its system for distributing farm subsidies – “should be instrumental in driving adoption of digital and precision farming technologies” by subsidizing access to such technologies.48Bayer AG. “Our views on Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation,” European Commission, September 19, 2022. Archived November 21, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.


Read more: Digital and Precision Agriculture – Criticisms and Concerns


Regenerative Agriculture

Bayer says on its website that regenerative agriculture techniques such as reducing tillage can be used to reduce agriculture’s impact on climate change. “With better weed-control solutions, farmers reduce the need to till, decreasing tractor passes over the field and allowing for less soil disruption.” This technique “curbs greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use” and helps sequester carbon, as “when soil is left untilled it is better able to store carbon, as well as nutrients and water.”49Climate Change,” Bayer. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/y6n2j

In July 2020, Bayer launched a carbon capture program for U.S. and Brazilian farmers. The program reportedly “requires that farmers enroll in [Bayer’s] Climate FieldView digital farming platform, where growers would log data about their eco-friendly farming practices such as no-till farming or planting cover crops.”50Karl Plume. “Bayer launches carbon capture programme for U.S. and Brazil farmers,” Reuters, July 21, 2020. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/GToXG

Speaking about the program, Begemann told Reuters, “if farmers are sequestering carbon to the benefit of society and the planet, they should be rewarded for it.”51Karl Plume. “Bayer launches carbon capture programme for U.S. and Brazil farmers,” Reuters, July 21, 2020. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/GToXG

According to a 2020 article from Bayer, “Soil is one of the most effective ways of sequestering carbon. Incentivizing farmers to embrace no-till, precision nitrogen use or cover crops helps further sequester carbon into the soil, reduce fossil fuel usage and reduce greenhouse gases. While today farmers get rewarded solely for their food, feed and fiber production, those participating in the Bayer Carbon Initiative will have the opportunity to be rewarded for their best farm management practices and other sustainability efforts as well.”52Bayer takes steps to make carbon sequestration a farmer’s newest crop opportunity,” Bayer, July 21, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/ip8Zg

However, Food Tank, a non-profit organization that works to reform the food system, has said that the company is “cashing in on the interest” of soil carbon sequestration and regenerative agriculture methods.“53Opinion: Why talk of regenerative agriculture should include pesticide reduction,” FoodTalk, September 2019. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/P5lj6

Kendra Klein, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth, told Civil Eats, a news site that focuses on the American food system, that Bayer’s co-opting of regenerative farming concepts is a “cover for continuing a very resource-intensive, energy- and greenhouse gas-intensive form of agriculture.”54Gosia Wozniacka. “With Regenerative Agriculture Booming, the Question of Pesticides Looms Large,” Civil Eats, September 5, 2019. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/RViMo

Klein argues that the company is promoting the controversial herbicide Roundup as a way to reduce tillage. She writes that “these practices will only go so far toward building a sustainable food system if we don’t include pesticide reduction as a fundamental goal.”55Opinion: Why talk of regenerative agriculture should include pesticide reduction,” FoodTalk, September 2019. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/P5lj6

In July 2020, Bayer launched the European segment of its global Carbon Initiative with the goal of achieving “decarbonization of the food value chain focusing on farmers’ activities for a more resilient and sustainable food system.” The program claims to be “in line with the political objectives of the EU Green Deal,” and includes 25 participating farmers from France, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.56“Bayer launches its decarbonization program for agriculture in Europe,” Bayer, June 29, 2021. Archived July 7, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gxWVD

Bayer said of the program:

“The new European Carbon Program recognizes the pivotal role growers and their land can play in helping to create lasting, positive environmental impacts and is an integral part of Bayer’s sustainability commitments specifically aimed at reducing field greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 30 [percent] in 2030.”

In May 2021, Bayer joined the newly-founded “European Carbon+Farming Coalition,” which aimed to accelerate decarbonization of food systems by taking a “farmer-centric approach” focused on “increasing the uptake of regenerative and climate-smart agriculture practices, identifying the roadblocks to adoption, [and] designing solutions with economic, practical and ecological benefits to farmers.” The program is particularly focused on curbing carbon emissions due to disturbance of farmland soils, and sequestering carbon in these soils. Other partners in the initiative include chemicals giant BASF and fertilizer and agricultural products company Yara International ASA.57New Coalition Announces Bold Plan to Decarbonize Europe’s Food System,” EITFood, May 4, 2021. Archived July 22, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/f0Mit 

In September 2021, in opening remarks at the Bayer-sponsored POLITICO Future of Food & Farming Summit, Tremblay said that Bayer is supporting soil health and carbon farming by “working directly with companies and organizations across the food value chain” to create “carbon farming models that work for farmers and other stakeholders in the food chain for moving towards climate neutrality.”58Opening Session & Interview with Tom. J. Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture | FFFS,” YouTube video uploaded by user Politico Europe. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.


Read more: Regenerative Agriculture – Criticisms and Concerns


Genetically Modified Organisms 

Gene editing in agriculture is the process of adding, enhancing or removing specific traits from the DNA of an organism. Genetic modification can make organisms more resistant to certain environmental conditions, including pests, chemicals, diseases and weather.59Nicholas G. Karavolias, Wilson Horner, Modesta N. Abugu, and Sarah N. Evanega. “Application of Gene Editing for Climate Change in Agriculture,” Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, September 7, 2021. Archived November 4, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kZlE6 

Bayer has promoted new genomic techniques as a climate solution. During a sponsored segment at Politico’s Future of Food and Farming Summit 2022, Bayer Crop Science head of research and development Bob Reiter suggested that NGTs were one of three key innovations for “a sustainable productive future.”60Bob Reiter. “Sponsored segment by Bayer – Agri-protection: innovating for a productive, sustainable future,” POLITICO Future of Food and Farming Summit 2022, September 29, 2022.

Some studies show that the adoption of genetic modifications to make crops more insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant has reduced farmers’ need to spray pesticides, thereby decreasing the environmental impact associated with herbicide and insecticide use on these crops.61Graham Brookes and Simon Barfoot. “Environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) crop use 1996-2016: Impacts on pesticide use and carbon emissions,” GM Crops & Food, Archived April 16, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

But other studies suggest that while the widespread adoption of genetically modified crops has decreased the use of insecticides, it has also increased the need for herbicides as weeds become more resistant to the substances.62Caroline Newman. “Largest-Ever Study Reveals Environmental Impact of Genetically Modified Crops,” UVATODAY, September 14, 2016. Archived October 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/BAPXC 

Many studies conclude that there is still not enough data in order to assess the long term safety of such new crops, nor their environmental impact.63Aristidis M. Tsatsakis, Muhammad Amjad Nawaz, Demetrios Kouretas, Georgios Balias, Kai Savolainen, Victor A. Tutelyan, Kirill S. Golokhvast, Jeong Dong Lee, Seung Hwan Yang, Gyuhwa Chung. “Environmental impacts of genetically modified plants: A review,” Environmental Research, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.03.011.

A 2021 survey by Ipsos found that a majority of European citizens want compulsory labeling on food products that indicates the presence of genetically modified ingredients.64Natasha Foote. “Report: majority of consumers want compulsory labelling on all genetically modified food,” EURACTIV, April 7, 2021. Archived August 17, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/doeah 

In July 2018, the European Court of Justice confirmed that gene-edited organisms created through new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) fell under the EU’s GMO regulations and therefore were not allowed to be commercialized in Europe.65Document 62016CJ0528,” EUR-Lex, July 25, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.  Archive URL: https://archive.ph/77oaC In a 2018 EURACTIV article reporting on the decision, József Máté, Corporate Communications Leader at Corteva, commented that the decision was a “bad day” for the agri-food sector. According to EURACTIV, environmental groups welcomed the news, saying the court had prevented “new GMOs” from entering the European market.66Sarantis Michalopoulos. “Industry shocked by EU Court decision to put gene editing technique under GM law,” EURACTIV, July 25, 2018. Archived April 30, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Y3VBP 

However, in 2021 the European Commission conducted a study on the topic, which concluded that current legislation was “not fit for purpose” when it came to next generation techniques (NGTs). The Commission will bring a proposal on future regulation of NGTs, which it says will aim to “achieve the goals of the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy.”67EC study on new genomic techniques,” European Commission. Archived November 16, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/3NzFf

A 2021 investigation by Corporate Europe Observatory looked into lobbying by companies including Bayer to water down the regulation of new GMOs, and lower standards for risk assessment, monitoring and labelling requirements. The investigation also detailed lobbying efforts by groups that represent agribusiness companies including Corteva, BASF and Syngenta.68Derailing EU Rules on New GMOs,” Corporate Europe Observatory, March 29, 2021. Archived October 9, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ES6n6 

In 2020, NGOs and green groups including Corporate Europe Observatory and Greenpeace claimed that the agribusiness industry made up a majority of invited stakeholders to a meeting about an EU consultation regarding regulations for new gene editing techniques. Corporate Europe Observatory’s Nina Holland told Politico Europe that 70 percent of the invited organizations represented food and farming interests, while NGOs accounted for only 12 percent. Franziska Achterberg, EU food policy director for Greenpeace, told Politico Europe that the consultation had “multipl[ied] the voices of those most invested in new [genetically modified] technology, like Bayer, Syngenta and Corteva, who are simultaneously members of several invited groups.”69Cristina Gonzalez. “POLITICO EU Influence: Steel lobby mystery — Gene editing row — Croatian transparency update,” Politico Europe, February 14, 2020. Archived April 18, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/rK01m 

In March 2021, the European Commission recommended that EU GMO regulations should be updated to allow “targeted gene editing” in crops.70Florin Zubașcu. “Scientists and industry cheer outcome of Commission study on gene editing,” Science | Business, May 4, 2021. Archived My 18, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/4bgT7 The commission’s report, which was “welcomed” by industry, stated that the commission was in favor of reversing a 2018 ruling by the European Court of Justice which banned GMOs within Europe. In response to the report, Friends of the Earth Europe claimed that the related European Consultation on future legislation of GMOs, had “prioritize[d] the interests of the biotech sector.”71Green light for new GMOs?,” Friends of the Earth Europe. March 2021. Archived August 18, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mQOjV 

Following the publication of the commission’s report, an article in Science | Business headlined “Biotech lobbies gear up for gene editing regulation battle,”72Florin Zubașcu. “Biotech lobbies gear up for gene editing regulation battle,” Science | Business, May 18, 2021. Archived May 18, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/UsPgq reported that Euroseeds, a trade association representing the European seed sector,73Who We Are,Euroseeds. Archived August 13, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/5rmzS had commissioned a report from German research group HFFA Research, which calls itself an “independent scientific consultancy on key issues in global agriculture, environment and development.” The report claimed that over the past two decades, plant breeding has contributed 66 percent of annual productivity growth in agriculture, and estimated that without plant breeding, crop yields in the EU would have been 20.6 percent lower.74Steffen Noleppa, Matti Cartsburg. “The socio-economic and environmental values of plant breeding in the EU and for selected EU member states,” HFFA Research, 2021. Archived October 21, 2021. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. HFFA Research also works with BASF, Bayer, UPL Ltd, NuFarm, CropLife International and Fertilizers Europe.75Clients,” HFFA Research. Archived August 13, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/MYbrK

A webpage titled “agriculture’s role in addressing a changing climate” on Bayer’s website stated that, as of November 2021, Bayer was investing in plant breeding technologies as part of its development of “climate-smart” agricultural solutions.76Agriculture’s role in addressing climate change,Bayer. Archived November 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.fo/SFFUN Bayer echoes that idea in a podcast episode about gene editing, claiming the technology “has the potential to solve real challenges for farmers and the planet, like reducing the need for pesticides and the use of energy, land, and water.”77Designing the Needle: How Gene Editing Can Transform Our Health and Planet,” Podcast episode uploaded by Bayer, July 2, 2020. Archived April 21, 2021. Archived .mp3 on file at DeSmog.

In a sponsored post on Politico Europe in 2020, Bayer regional head for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Bruno Tremblay, said that gene editing was both safe and “fundamental” for achieving the goals of the EU Green Deal. He added: “The EU needs to find a balanced policy and reverse legislation that blocks new plant breeding tools. Otherwise, Europe could miss out on one of the most promising innovations of our lifetime to enable more sustainable resilient food systems.”78Bruno Tremblay. “Smart and sustainable food systems,Politico Europe, December 9, 2020. Archived October 6, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/aJfc6 

In an October 2021 article, Farmers Guardian reported that according to Liam Condon, president of crop science at Bayer, the company is “very actively” trying to change the EU’s GMO regulations. Condon added that the company is “promoting very strongly that regulations should catch up with technology and allow this technology to be used, [not only] for the benefit of Europeans, but also for the benefit of others all over the world who look to Europe for regulations.”79Alice Dyer. “Plant breeders engaging ‘very actively’ for gene editing regulations to change in Europe,” October 15, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

In September 2021, Tremblay gave opening remarks for the Politico Europe Future of Food & Farming Summit, which Bayer sponsored as leading partner. Tremblay said that “Bayer wants to encourage the conversation around entities. And regulations should ensure that it is fit for purpose.” He also said that Bayer’s “new genomic techniques” could “contribute to the Green Deal’s objective by enabling and accelerating the development of more resilient seed varieties.”80Opening Session & Interview with Tom. J. Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture | FFFS,” YouTube video uploaded by user Politico Europe. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

In 2012, Bayer, BASF, Corteva and Syngenta founded the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) in the United Kingdom with the goal to “provide factual information and education about the agricultural use of GM technology in the UK.”81About ABC,” Agricultural Biotechnology Council. Archived January 21, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/qB0XO 

Ahead of the November 2021 international climate conference, COP26, ABC chair Mark Buckingham said, “As all of us deal with the impact of climate change and environmental extremes, it is vital that we are equipped to access all the tools available. If UK food production is to remain both resilient and sustainable farmers must have access to technologies like gene editing.”82BRITONS WANT FARMING ON THE AGENDA FOR COP26 – AND WANT FARMERS TO HAVE ACCESS TO AGRICULTURAL INNOVATIONS TO RESPOND TO CLIMATE CRISIS,” Agricultural Biotechnology Council. Archived September 21, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/cjtSs

Corporate watchdog organization Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) has suggested that Bayer is promoting the deregulation of gene editing in light of European targets to reduce pesticide use. A CEO report in March 2022 stated: “While fighting [pesticide] reduction targets tooth and nail, corporations like Bayer also lobby heavily for the deregulation of GM seeds from new techniques like CRISPR-Cas and push digital tools for farmers. This is part of their new business model, to make up for [a reduction in] or in addition to pesticide sales.”83A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork,” Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive PDF: https://archive.ph/hpFb3 

CEO particularly criticized Bayer’s promotion of genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant (HT) soybeans as “sustainable” in EU Green Deal discussions, and pointed out that they are “literally designed to be applied with pesticides.” CEO wrote that Bayer had been “making absurd claims that herbicide-tolerant soy is a ‘critical part of the solution to stop deforestation, not the root cause of deforestation’, because, Bayer claims, they would generate high yields therefore you need less land.”84A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork,” Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive PDF: https://archive.ph/hpFb3 

In May 2021, Euroseeds – a European seed sector trade group of which Bayer is a member – hired consultancy firm HFFA Research to assess whether plant breeding could “compensate [for] production losses potentially resulting from” the EU’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.85Steffen Noleppa, Matti Cartsburg. “The socio-economic and environmental values of plant breeding in the EU and for selected EU member states,” HFFA Research, May 2021. Archived July 21, 2022. Archive URL: http://archive.today/5p4z3 

The study concluded that “without accelerating plant breeding in the EU in the future” the objectives of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies “can hardly be achieved.” HFFA provided a series of recommendations, including using “all available technologies,” including plant breeding technologies, and ensuring that policy and regulatory frameworks “encourage and [do] not hinder the … necessary investments into future plant breeding.”86Steffen Noleppa, Matti Cartsburg. “The socio-economic and environmental values of plant breeding in the EU and for selected EU member states,” HFFA Research, May 2021. Archived July 21, 2022. Archive URL: http://archive.today/5p4z3

Corporate Europe Observatory commented that the HFFA Research study “replicates the GM lobby’s regulatory wish-list.”87A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork.” Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive PDF: https://archive.ph/hpFb3

Role in Pesticides Controversy

Bayer has been subject to lawsuits and controversy over a number of its pesticides products, including glyphosate and neonicotinoids, as well as its lobbying against policies designed to reduce the use of agrochemicals like pesticides in farming.

U.S. Lawsuits

In 2018, Bayer acquired Monsanto into its crop science division, and in the process acquired the globe’s best-known herbicide. In March 2020,  Bloomberg reported that Bayer would pay US$39.5 million to settle lawsuits regarding false advertising about Roundup.88Jef Feeley. “Bayer Pays $39.5 Million to Settle Roundup false-Ad Lawsuits,” Bloomberg, March 30, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/QLKkf In June 2020, Bayer agreed to pay US$10 billion to “to settle tens of thousands of claims” that Roundup causes cancer, “while continuing to sell the product without adding warning labels about its safety” according to The New York Times.89Patricia Cohen. “Roundup Maker to pay $10 Billion to settle cancer suits,” New York Times, June 24, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/qfCEV 

In July 2019, the Financial Times reported that the number of lawsuits against Bayer alleging a link between Roundup and cancer had jumped from 13,400 to 18,400 in three months.90Tobias Buck. “Bayer faces 5,000 new lawsuits over pesticide cancer claims,”Financial Times, July 30, 2019. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL:  https://archive.vn/VdlYh 

Bayer, along with BASF, was sued by a farmer who alleged that his peach orchard was destroyed after dicamba weedkiller drifted over from nearby fields. The companies were  ordered to pay the farmer US$15 million in actual damages and US$250 million in fines, the BBC reported in February 2020.91German firms Bayer and BASF fight $265 Million U.S. fine over weedkiller,” BBC News, February 17, 2020. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/Fpbw9

Neonicotinoids

Bayer, along with Syngenta, was criticized for secrecy in 2016 after unpublished field trials on their neonicotinoid insecticides “show[ed] their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels,” according to the Guardian.92Damian Carrington. “Pesticide manufacturer’s own tests reveal serious harm to honeybees,” The Guardian, September 22, 2016. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/bTWKu The companies both went to the European Court of Justice to get EU restrictions on neonicotinoids overturned. The court ruled that the EU had correctly applied its “precautionary principle.”93Bee crisis: EU backs near-total neonicotinoids ban,” BBC News, May 17, 2018. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/QVZAY

Pesticides containing neonicotinoids were banned in Europe for two years in 2013 over fears these substances were contributing to declining bee populations. According to The New York Times, Bayer and Syngenta – the two pesticide companies that make neonicotinoids in Europe – said they “were willing to finance additional research, but that the current data do not justify a ban.”94David Jolly. “Europe bans pesticides thought harmful to bees,” The New York Times, April 29, 2013. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/8iYMd In 2018 the EU voted for a total ban on use of neonicotinoids.95Damian Carrington. “EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides,” The Guardian, April 27, 2018. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/lutrO

In May 2021, The European Court of Justice dismissed Bayer’s appeal of a 2018 ruling which restricted the use of three active substances used in neonicotinoids: imidacloprid, developed by Bayer; clothianidin, developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer; and thiamethoxam, developed by Syngenta.96Kate Abnett. “EU top court upholds ban on Bayer pesticides linked to harming bees,” Reuters, May 6, 2021. Archived November 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.fo/9Ubip 

In response to the dismissal, Bayer said that while it accepted the 2018 decision to broadly restrict the use of certain neonicotinoids in agriculture, it “stands by the safety of its products” and “reiterates the value that these products have for farmers in managing pests effectively.” A spokesperson for Bayer added that the decision “seems to allow the [European] Commission almost carte blanche to review existing approvals upon the slightest evidence, which need not even be new scientific data.”97Stephanie Bodoni. “Bayer Loses Fight Over Chemicals EU Blamed for Killing Bees,” Bloomberg, May 6, 2021. Archived May 6, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/LrF4M

EU Farm to Fork

In March 2020, Bayer published a position paper responding to the 50 percent pesticide reduction targets set in the European Green Deal’s Farm to Fork strategy,98Farm to Fork Strategy: Bayer’s contribution to the Roadmap public consultation,” Bayer, March 16, 2020. Archived November 29, 2021. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. as well as the strategy’s goal of reserving  25 percent of agricultural land for organic farming.99What’s in the EU’s new agri-food, biodiversity policy,” EU Observer, May 20, 2021. Archived November 30, 2021, Archive URL: https://archive.ph/wip/8Lgsk

The paper stated that Bayer “believe[s] that the sustainable use of pesticides should focus on reducing the risk and impact of their usage on the environment rather than reducing their use.” Bayer added that it has “made a commitment reduce the environmental impact of crop protection” by 30 percent by 2030, saying it would achieve this commitment with “a combination of innovative tools including – but not limited to – modern application technologies, mitigation measures (reducing off-target effects of pesticides), compounds with better environmental profiles as well as the increased use of biologics and breeding.”100Farm to Fork Strategy: Bayer’s contribution to the Roadmap public consultation,” Bayer, March 16, 2020. Archived November 29, 2021. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.  

Bayer reiterated calls to focus on the risk and impact rather than the use of pesticides in its September 2022 response to the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive. The revision would translate the Farm to Fork pesticide targets into binding legislation. Bayer argued that the focus on use would move Europe “away from the Farm to Fork’s objective of building a more sustainable food production system capable of delivery benefits such as food security and affordability, climate resilience and a fair income for farmers.”101Bayer AG. “Our views on Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation,” European Commission, September 19, 2022. Archived November 21, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

The company argued, “without knowing what the impact of pesticide usage on the environment is, policy makers have no basis to establish whether additional restrictions are needed and where they are needed.” However, the environmental harms of overall pesticide use have been extensively documented by scientists.102Bayer AG. “Our views on Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation,” European Commission, September 19, 2022. Archived November 21, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) has suggested that the focus on reduction in pesticide risk rather than use may be a delay tactic and an “attempt to undermine effective EU action by demanding that only the risk of certain pesticides, and not the overall quantities used, should be subject to reduction targets.” CEO also reported that Bayer had recommended that “rather than speaking about reducing volumes [of pesticides] we need to focus on reducing the environmental impact,” and pointed to Bayer and Syngenta’s lawsuit against the European Commission for “banning three pollinator-killing insecticides,” noting that the companies “earn roughly one third of their profits from Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs).”103A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork.Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive PDF: https://archive.ph/hpFb3

In March 2022, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) published a report which stated that Bayer was one of several pesticide companies involved in “a counter-lobby of huge proportions” against the EU Farm to Fork strategy. It identified Bayer and organizations of which it is a member as using a number of tactics designed to undermine EU targets. CEO stated that CropLife Europe and Euroseeds (two industry groups of which Bayer was a member) had “paid for partial impact studies to scaremonger about economic losses while painting an unfair picture.”104A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork,” Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive PDF: https://archive.ph/hpFb3 

The report found that Bayer had sponsored a daily agriculture news roundup published by Politico for one week in February 2022, which included “messages from Bayer” like:105A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork.Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive PDF: https://archive.ph/hpFb3 

“Going green sets ambitious targets for the transition of food production systems. Crop production in the EU could fall if the targets of the Green Deal were fully implemented. Inevitably, we will need to import more food and export less. Rising world food prices will trigger an expansion of agricultural production in regions with less ambitious sustainability targets. … Innovation is key! New breeding techniques and digital farming have the potential to respond to growing food demand while requiring fewer resources.” 

In October 2021, days before the European Parliament’s vote on Farm to Fork, a website “powered by Bayer and Syngenta” called Swiss Food published an article titled “Agricultural production in the EU to drop by 20 percent.” It claimed that the European Green Deal would “reduce the amount of agricultural production in the EU and lower farmers’ incomes” while the EU would be forced to “import more agricultural goods” while “consumers would pay higher prices.” The article added: “Moreover, land use would increase in the rest of the world. This has been confirmed by several studies.”106Agricultural production in the EU to drop by 20 percent,” Swiss Food, October 15, 2021. Archived December 7, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/teLSX 

The study cited was conducted by Wageningen University and Research, and was funded and “guided” by CropLife Europe and CropLife International – of which both Bayer and Syngenta are members – and involved “other stakeholders in the food supply chain,” though the article did not disclose the industry’s involvement in the study.107Johan Bremmer, Ana Gonzalez-Martinez, Roel Jongeneel, Hilfred Huiting, Rob Stokkers, Marc Ruijs. “Impact Assessment of EC 2030 Green Deal Targets for Sustainable Crop Production,” Wageningen University and Research, December 2021. Archived September 12, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The studies cited have been criticized by scientists, NGOs, and the European Commission, which released a statement that said the impact assessments “are not able to assess the full impacts of the two strategies and predict the future. For instance, the future consumer behavioural changes, the impact of research and innovation or technological uptake in the agricultural sector have not, or partially, been taken into account.”108Green Deal 2030 targets and agricultural production studies,” News Article, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission, October 18, 2021. Archived July 22, 2022. Archive URL: http://archive.today/9MJmE

In October 2020, an investigation by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) also claimed that Bayer was one of several corporations actively engaging with member states and European Parliament members in attempts to water down the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform.109CAP vs Farm to Fork: Will we pay billions to destroy, or to support biodiversity, climate, and farmers?,Corporate Europe Observatory, October 12, 2020. Archived September 4,, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/erl3Y Advocates, including Corporate Europe Observatory, had hoped that the CAP would be brought into alignment with Farm to Fork targets and the Biodiversity Strategy.

Bayer has also lobbied on the 2022 revision of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD). Since its inception in 2009, SUD has suggested that pesticides should only be used as a “last resort” intervention on farms. During 2022, SUD was reviewed by the European Commission to align it with Farm to Fork targets, and to make a 50 percent pesticide reduction target legally binding.

Bayer submitted a public consultation response to the Commission’s proposal for the SUD revision in September 2022, arguing against SUD’s longstanding suggestion that pesticides should be a last resort. Bayer said this approach risked “having a severely detrimental effect on agricultural production” and “denies the fact that chemical crop protection today plays an important role before, during and after the growing cycle.” Bayer called for revisions to the proposal that pesticides should be banned in sensitive areas such as public parks, arguing that the Commission’s current approach risked “alienating” farmers, and argued against suggestions that Member States should target reductions at the five most widely used pesticides in their countries. 

Bayer also suggested that the Revision should focus on supporting innovations, such as digital and precision farming, and use of drone technologies.110Bayer AG. “Our views on Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation,” European Commission, September 19, 2022. Archived November 21, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

According to Corporate Europe Observatory, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, and Corteva all spoke at the March 2022 CropLife Europe Conference. The event, which was scheduled in the run-up to the European Commission’s expected publication of its proposal for the revised SUD, involved high-level Commission officials and covered topics including the SUD revision, the 50 percent reduction of pesticides target, and pesticide standards and trade, according to CEO.111A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork.Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive PDF: https://archive.ph/hpFb3

Lobbying

According to OpenSecrets, Bayer reported US$9,140,000 in lobbying expenses in the U.S. in 2019. This was down from US$12,310,000 in 2018, and US$13,740,000 in 2017.

U.S. agencies listed to have been lobbied by Bayer on OpenSecrets in 2019 are:112Client Profile: Bayer AG,” OpenSecrets. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/S0X4v

As part of the company’s overview of its political engagement, Bayer states that it does not make any direct donations to political parties, politicians, or candidates. However, the overview notes that “some associations of which [Bayer] is a member make donations on their initiative.”113Our Political Principles and Positions,” Bayer Global. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/I2hE5 

Bayer also notes that “because political contributions in the United States of America are protected by law, some employees choose to donate to Bayer’s Employee Political Action Committee (known as BAYERPAC) to support legislative candidates. BAYERPAC, like all Political Action Committees (PACs), is highly regulated, and maintains an independent governance board comprised of Bayer employees from across the businesses.”114Our Principles and Positions on Political Engagement”, Bayer. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/MuJUB

According to OpenSecrets, Bayer affiliates made donations of $987,543 in 2020.115Bayer,” OpenSecrets.org. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ff3l2

According to a 2022 investigation by Investigate Europe, EU data shows that Bayer is “the pesticide producer with the highest [lobbying] budget [in the EU], more than €4.25 million per year. Only Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have higher annual lobbying expenditures.”116Attila Kálmán and Paulo Pena. “In Brussels, the multi-billion Euro pesticide business is everywhere,” Investigate Europe, June 24, 2022. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/J6GOR

On its website, Bayer acknowledges that it engages politically on the following topics: intellectual property, policymaking, post-clinical-trial access, and trade.117Our Political Principles and Positions,” Bayer Global. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/I2hE5

Bayer is registered on the EU transparency register for lobbying, which states that the organization’s fields of interest include climate action.118Transparency Register,” Europa, December 17, 2008. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/estSR 

According to the Transparency Register, Bayer spent between €4,250,000 – €4,499,999 in 2020.119Bayer AG,” European Transparency Register. Archived November 22, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/R4oS0 

Bayer is a client of lobby consultancies registered within the European Union. In 2020, Bayer spent between €100,000 and €199,999 on the services of FIPRA International SRL, between €200,000 – €299,999 on the services of EPPA S.A, , and between €500,000 – €599,999 on the services of Rud Pedersen Consulting.

In 2021, Bayer spent between over €1 million on the services of Rud Pedersen, €100,000 – 199,999 on the services of Edelman, and €300,000 – 399,999 on those of Eutop. It also spent €100,000 – 199,999 on the services of Hume Brophy.120Bayer,” EU Transparency Register, July 13, 2022. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/a8AHB

Hume Brophy runs the Glyphosate Renewal Group, of which Bayer is the lead member.121Terms and Conditions”, Glyphosate Renewal Group. Archived August 31, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/RuEkX 122Minutes of the pre-presubmission meeting AGG-GTF2 on the renewal of Glyphosate”, European Commission Food Safety, July 4, 2019. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GAGi8  

Since 2015, Bayer has registered 40 meetings with Commissioners, Members of their Cabinet or Director-Generals of the EU.123Meetings – Bayer”, European Commission Transparency Register, September 6, 2022. Archived September 6, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

A 2017 report by Influence Map tracked 50 large corporations judged most influential in shaping climate policy globally. The project found that 35 of the 50 were actively lobbying against policies to act on climate change. Bayer was included on the list alongside other corporations including Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Dow Chemical.124Corporate Carbon Policy Footprint,” InfluenceMap, September 2017. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/tNNTz

Glyphosate Lobbying

Much of Bayer’s lobbying has involved defense of glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup, the herbicide that has led to thousands of lawsuits against Bayer and Monsanto.

According to the European Trade Union Institute, Bayer has been represented by the European Crop Protection Association (since renamed CropLife Europe), which “aggressively pushes for weak regulation of pesticides and GMOs.” In 2016 the ECPA declared a lobbying spend of between €600,000 – €700,000. The ECPA and Bayer have lobbied against EU action on neonicotinoid pesticides. Monsanto has also spent hundreds of thousands on defending glyphosate use. One of the company’s lobbyists, Richard Garnett, was the chair of the Glyphosate Task Force, an industry lobby group, which has since been renamed the Glyphosate Renewal Group (GRG).125Olivier Hoedeman. “The world of EU lobbying in Brussels,” HesaMag. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/x6VJY

In late 2019, Bayer Head of Public and Government Affairs Matthias Berninger reportedly told German business newspaper Handelsblatt that glyphosate was “good for the climate.”126Helen Buyniski. “Bayer-Monsanto’s secret weapon: Ex-Green lobbyist to tell the world its cancer-linked weedkiller will save the climate,” RT, January 8, 2020. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/BrlNB Berninger was a member of The Greens, a green political party in Germany, from 1990 to 2007, and from 2001 to 2005 served as Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. A subsequent article by RT described Berninger an “ex-Green lobbyist” and Bayer and Monsanto’s “secret weapon”.127Matthias Berninger Alliance 90/The Greens,” The Bundestag. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/0QtIj#selection-1384.0-1394.0 

In 2019, ​​Bob Reiter, Bayer’s head of research, told EURACTIV that glyphosate might be a “once in a lifetime product” and no “magical” alternative to glyphosate is going to appear in the market.128Sarantis Michalopoulos. “No ‘magical’ alternative to glyphosate in the next 5 years, Bayer official says,” EURACTIV, October 2, 2019. Archived August 24, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/LWUCt 

In August 2021, Bayer lost its third appeal of a U.S. federal court ruling that awarded damages to customers charging that exposure to Bayer’s glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup had caused their cancers.129Bayer loses third appeals case over glyphosate weedkiller,Reuters, August 10, 2021. Archived September 13, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/KOno3 

In 2021, the Institute of Cancer Research at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria issued the results of a study that reviewed more than 50 glyphosate-related safety studies submitted to regulators by large chemical companies, including Syngenta and Bayer. Speaking to The Guardian about the findings of the study, the lead author said that the “quality” of “many of the studies” analyzed was “very poor”. In response to the findings, Bayer said that the package of studies submitted to regulators is “one of the most extensive scientific dossiers ever compiled for a pesticide active ingredient.”130Carey Gillam. “Corporate studies asserting herbicide safety show many flaws, new analysis finds,The Guardian, July 2, 2021. Archived November 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.fo/WsitV

In March 2020, the Guardian revealed that Monsanto had secretly funded academic studies on glyphosate that claimed “very severe impacts” on farming would result if glyphosate was banned. According to the Guardian, Monsanto funded the studies before it was acquired by Bayer. Bayer stated that “the studies’ failure to disclose their funding broke [its] principles.”131Damian Carrington. “Revealed: Monsanto’s secret funding for weedkiller studies,” The Guardian, March 12, 2020. Archived November 28, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gGRuA 

In November 2021, the Glyphosate Renewal Group organized an event titled “Can glyphosate play a role in achieving greater biodiversity?” with EURACTIV.132Policy Dialogue: Can Glyphosate play a role in achieving greater biodiversity?,” EURACTIV, November 4, 2021. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. The event featured Bayer Head of Environmental Safety Virginie Ducrot, who stated that all studies provided to the EFSA and other regulatory bodies involved in the reassessment of glyphosate were available on the Glyphosate Renewal Group’s website.133Our commitment to transparency,Glyphosate Renewal Group. Archived December 1, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lFrYS 

In August 2021, Bayer stated that it would be willing to remove glyphosate from the U.S. lawn and garden market. The company stated that a new version of the weedkiller Roundup, which has historically contained glyphosate, would rely on “alternative active ingredients,” which would need to be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.134Tim Loh and Jef Feeley. “Bayer’s Roundup Costs Could Top US$16 Billion as Provisions Mount,” Bloomberg, July 29, 2021. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

In September 2020, Reuters reported that Bayer and the U.S. government had cooperated  in late 2019 to lobby Thailand to reverse its ban on glyphosate.135Patpicha Tanakasempipat. “Exclusive: In the weeds – How Bayer, U.S. government teamed up against Thailand’s glyphosate ban,” September 17, 2020. Archived November 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.fo/f25ub 

In February 2021, the Guardian revealed that Bayer and trade association CropLife America had been working with U.S. officials to pressure Mexico into abandoning its intended ban on glyphosate.Carey Gillam.136Revealed: Monsanto owner and US officials pressured Mexico to drop glyphosate ban,” The Guardian, February 16, 2021. Archived November 29, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.fo/pzwn3

EU Glyphosate Renewal

In 2017, the European Commission granted a five-year approval for glyphosate, ending in December 2022.137COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2017/2324,” Official Journal of the European Union, December 15, 2017. Archived December 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ag56f

Bayer is a member of the Glyphosate Renewal Group, a coalition of European agrochemical companies lobbying the EU to renew its authorization of glyphosate.138What is the Glyphosate Renewal Group,” Glyphosate Renewal Group. Archived January 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/53rmx Bayer is described as the “lead member” of the group “and consequently handles the contact with authorities.”139Minutes of the pre-presubmission meeting AGG-GTF2 on the renewal of Glyphosate,” European Commission Food Safety, July 4, 2019. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GAGi8 The Glyphosate Renewal Group has submitted an application for the renewed approval of the herbicide in the EU, the outcome of which will be announced in mid-2023. 

The GRG and its members argue that a ban on glyphosate would have negative environmental repercussions. At a GRG-hosted event in November 2021, a representative of Bayer claimed that a ban on glyphosate would require farmers to use a mix of other pesticides to substitute their product, which may create more harm to the environment than using glyphosate.140Policy Dialogue: Can Glyphosate play a role in achieving greater biodiversity?,” EURACTIV, November 4, 2021. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. 

In September 2022, Bayer funded an Impact Assessment examining “the loss of glyphosate within the EU” by environmental consultancy ADAS. According to the study, it was “supported by the Glyphosate Renewal Group.”141Sarah Wynn and Elise Webb. “Impact assessment of the loss of glyphosate within the EU: a literature review,” Environmental Sciences Europe, September 2022. Archived October 11, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

The study found that without glyphosate, EU farmers could experience billions of pounds in yield losses. The authors concluded: “Yield losses and increased farm level-costs will affect the global competitiveness of EU agriculture, the ability of the EU to be self-sufficient in food, and the trade balance contributions of agricultural commodities that are exported.” However, the study did not consider negative impacts of glyphosate on health or the environment (or associated economic costs), instead listing the chemical’s “environmental benefits.”142Sarah Wynn and Elise Webb. “Impact assessment of the loss of glyphosate within the EU: a literature review,” Environmental Sciences Europe, September 2022. Archived October 11, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Several NGOs have suggested that there may be pro-industry bias in the European approval process for glyphosate. 

In 2017 it was found that multiple sections of the EU’s assessment in favour of glyphosate had been copied and pasted directly from the GFT’s application.143Arthur Nelson. “EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study,The Guardian, September 15, 2017. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/3XPvb A 2019 study by the European Parliament found that half of the text in chapters looking at academic studies on the health risks from glyphosate had been copied and pasted, and that as much as 96 percent of the section on the genotoxicity of glyphosate had been directly copied.“144Stefan Weber and Helmut Burtscher-Schaden. “Detailed Expert Report on Plagiarism and superordinated Copy Paste in the Renewal Assessment Report (RAR) on Glyphosate,The Left in the European Parliament, January 2019. Archived September 6, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

In response to the GRG’s application for renewal in 2020, Hans Muilerman of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe stated: “The root of the problem is and remains that industry is testing its own products, a historical mistake in EU law.” 

“Only industry studies are considered, the ones with the conflict of interest,” Muilerman told media outlet ENDS Europe, citing a PAN Europe report from 2018. “And this will lead to the conclusion that glyphosate is safe, as EFSA did [previously].”145Robert Hodegson. “Chemicals lobby makes case for glyphosate licence renewal,” ENDS Europe, republished on PAN Europe website, June 12, 2020. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/f9S1f 

Bayer responded to PAN Europe’s comments by stating that it “strongly disagreed” with the suggestion that chemical firms could cherry-pick scientific papers used to inform the EU approval process.146Robert Hodegson. “Chemicals lobby makes case for glyphosate licence renewal,” ENDS Europe, republished on PAN Europe website, June 12, 2020. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/f9S1f 
The final decision on glyphosate’s renewal was delayed in 2022 after the European Union received an “unprecedented number of comments” during public consultation on the issue. The assessment is due to be finalized mid-2023. 147Julia Dahm. “EU agencies push back glyphosate assessment to mid-2023,” Euractiv, May 11, 2022. Archived September 7, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ZaGI5

Lobbying for trade deal to increase pesticide exports

In April 2022, environmental NGO Friends of the Earth Europe and EU-focused NGO Seattle to Brussels Network published a report on the proposed EU-Mercosur trade deal, which would affect trade between the EU and the Mercosur countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.148Larissa Mies Bombardi, Audrey Changoe. “Toxic Trading: The EU pesticide lobby’s offensive in Brazil,” Friends of the Earth Europe and Seattle to Brussels Network, April 2022. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/DHPVz 

The report stated that if ratified, the deal “will heavily increase crop exports to Europe, and imports of dangerous agrochemicals to South America, particularly Brazil,” and that the potential for increased agricultural exports “risks aggravating existing problems with the conversion of forests and other important ecosystems for agriculture, and adds to the toxic burden of pesticide-intensive agriculture on nature and local communities.” 

The report also highlighted that European agrochemical giants including Bayer and BASF “have been promoting the EU-Mercosur trade deal through lobby groups” and “sought to increase market access for some of their most harmful pesticides by joining forces with Brazilian agribusiness associations.” The report claimed that European companies work with agribusiness lobby groups like CropLife Brasil (which was founded by Bayer) to water down environmental policies, writing: “Their joint lobby efforts have borne fruit: pesticide use has multiplied sixfold over the last 20 years and a record number of new pesticides has been approved in Brazil since Jair Bolsonaro came to power.” 

The report added that Bayer and BASF have benefitted from the proposed deal and government support for pesticides, writing: “Together, Bayer and BASF have got 45 new pesticides approved over the last three years, 19 of which contain substances prohibited in the European Union.149Larissa Mies Bombardi, Audrey Changoe. “Toxic Trading: The EU pesticide lobby’s offensive in Brazil,” Friends of the Earth Europe and Seattle to Brussels Network, April 2022. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/DHPVz 

A September 2020 report by Public Eye likewise found that: “In 2018, some 30 companies exported banned pesticides from European soil, including German giants Bayer and BASF.”150Laurent Gaberell and Géraldine Viret. “Banned in Europe: How the EU exports pesticides too dangerous for use in Europe,” Public Eye, September 10, 2020. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/HStYl

Affiliations

Bayer is a member of CropLife International, which has described itself as “a global trade association of agrochemical companies representing the plant science industry.” CropLife has six member companies: FMC, BASF, Bayer, Corteva Agriscience, Syngenta and UPL

According to the EU Transparency Register, Bayer is a member of the following trade associations:151Bayer,” European Union Transparency Register. Archived September 7, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8X5ed 

  • Business Europe
  • European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC)
  • European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Association (EFPIA)
  • the Association of the European Self-Medication Industry (AESGP)
  • CropLife Europe (CLE)
  • Euroseeds
  • Cosmetics Europe
  • DIGITALEUROPE
  • European Justice Forum
  • Food Supplements Europe

As of September 2022, Bayer was no longer listed as a member of the American Chemistry Council, a U.S. chemical industry lobbying organization.152Member Companies,” American Chemistry Council. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/jP5B8 153Manufacturer Members,” American Chemistry Council. Archived September 7, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/rkx1O

Bayer was a member of the UK’s Crop Protection Association, since renamed CropLife UK, but is no longer listed as a member.154Who We Are,” Crop Protection Association. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/oDGer

In 2019, The New York Times reported that “Staff members from Copa-Cogeca, the agricultural company Bayer and the European Commission formed a group called the Young Food Policy Network, which hosts happy hours for government and business officials.”155Matt Apuzzo and Salem Gebrekidan. “Who Keeps Europe’s Farm Billions Flowing: Often Those Who Benefit,” The New York Times, December 11, 2019. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/82Lnl 

In June 2020, an American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) logo was featured on a one-pager for a U.S. Department of Agriculture carbon credit certification program bill, alongside the logos of a number of agribusinesses including Bayer, Syngenta, and Corteva.156Senator Braun et al. “The Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020,” United States Senate. Archived November 10, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/x7Yc2

In May 2021, Bayer CropScience was announced as a founding member of the European Carbon+ Farming Coalition.157EU Carbon+ Farming Coalition,” World Economic Forum. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/20FNt According to the United Nations, the Coalition “was launched as part of a larger effort to transform global food systems, under the auspices of the WEF [World Economic Forum]. It aims to promote regenerative and climate-smart practices to better Manage Europe’s farmlands, contributing to the decarbonization of the European food system, healthier soils and more resilient farms.”158Lera Miles, Raquel Agra, Sandeep Sengupta, Adriana Vidal, Barney Dickson. “Nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation,” United Nations Environment Programme and International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2021. Archived September 6, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. The majority of partners in the Coalition are corporations, including BASF and Syngenta Group, alongside just one university and one NGO.159EU Carbon+ Farming Coalition,” World Economic Forum. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/20FNt

Bayer is also a member of the Sustainable Productivity Growth Coalition (SPG).160SPG Coalition Members and How to Join,” U.S. Department of Agriculture. Archived September 7, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/PWDlI The SPG was launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in 2021. The USDA describes the coalition as a “channel for cooperation to foster more sustainable and climate-smart agriculture, while ensuring the availability and affordability of food around the world.”161Sustainable Productivity Growth Coalition,” Foreign Agriculture Service. Archived September 7, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/SLTjr

Its members include states (such as the EU, the U.S., and Brazil), academic and research institutions, foundations and other organizations (including International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, International Fertilizer Development Center), alongside the private sector. Private sector members include: BASF, CropLife International, FMC Corporation, Corteva Agriscience, Syngenta, the Fertilizer Institute and the US Dairy Export Council.162SPG Coalition Members and How to Join,” US Department of Agriculture. Archived September 7, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/PWDlI According to reporting from Corporate Europe Observatory, agribusiness trade group COPA-COGECA described the coalition as “the building of an anti-F2F group.”163A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork.Corporate Europe Observatory, March 17, 2022. Archived July 26, 2022. Archive PDF: https://archive.ph/hpFb3 

Bayer is a partner of BusinessEurope, which describes itself as “the leading advocate for growth and competitiveness at European level.”164ASGroup – our partner companies,” BusinessEurope. Archived September 12, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/t7MzU 165Mission and priorities,” BusinessEurope. Archived September 12, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/aAaXZ  

BusinessEurope is one of the industry organizations accused by Corporate Europe Observatory of “deploy[ing] the Ukraine crisis to serve their agenda,” because BusinessEurope sent a letter to the European Council in March 2022 which called on the EU to “impose new requirements only when absolutely necessary” and to avoid “burdensome requirements” in light of the invasion.166Vicky Cann, “Exploiting the Ukraine crisis for Big Business,” Corporate Europe Observatory, July 28, 2022. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/llm7Y 167BusinessEurope’s message to the Spring European Council on 24-25 March 2022,” BusinessEurope, March 22, 2022. Archived September 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ZSGLo 

Bayer also sits on the international board for and sponsors the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC), a technical group run by the industry association CropLife International. Bayer is also vice chair of IRAC’s Crop Protection Working Group.

IRAC describes itself as the “global authority on Insecticide Resistance Management,” and focuses on communication and education on insecticide resistance, as well as “development and implementation of resistance management strategies.” Its international executive includes BASF, Corteva Agriscience, and Syngenta.168Introduction to IRAC,” Insecticide Resistance Action Committee. Archived November 16, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/IMvb9 

IRAC Europe is represented on and regularly presents its findings to the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation’s Expert Working Group on Resistance to Plant Protection Products (EPPO), an intergovernmental panel which writes guidelines on pesticides for Europe.169EPPO Expert Working Group on Resistance to Plant Protection Products”, EPPO, June 2022. Archived November 16, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Virkt Pesticide Action Network says that guidelines written by the group “direct regulators to approve the most harmful chemicals and dismiss safer alternatives” in the EU.  It says that corporations “wrote their own rules in their own interest and [EPPO] officials approved them.”170Pesticide Paradise: How industry and officials protected the most toxic pesticides from a policy push for sustainable farming,” Pesticide Action Network Europe, September 2022. Archived November 16, 2022. Archive .pdf on file at DeSmog.

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