more awareness on future regulatory risks and more innovations
Amongst the companies we engaged, BASF, Mosaic, CF, Nufarm and FCM’s responses gave us a positive impression. Some of them are starting to take the most stringent regulatory standards around the world as their risk benchmark to understand the potential impacts if such regulations were to be enforced globally. Many of these standards are indeed from the EU, including the 2018 ban and the tightening requirements of European regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
Several companies also told us they recognise the need for replacement products, and have been initiating R&D programmes to develop these. However, not all alternatives to neonics are free of harm to pollinators. For example, Flupyradifurone and Sulfoximine-based products are exempted from the EU’s ban because of their different chemical structuresmineralsto neonics. Recent studies, however, have shown that they may still have significant side effects to pollinators and other non-target species with even realistic doses, and some markets are starting to ban their use.
It is therefore important to ensure that resources are spent on developing a new generation of pesticides that are genuinely harm-free to biodiversity1. If further developed for large-scale farming, biopesticides1 could be important in contributing to a more sustainable approach. Major regulators have also been encouraging the development (for example, the quicker approval process by the US Environmental Protection Agency), leading to more registered biopesticides in recent years.