Good Stewardship Practices Demonstrate Industry Commitment to Responsible Use of Technology
Farmers, consumers, and the environment benefit every day from agricultural biotechnology. Farmers enjoy increased income and productivity. Consumers enjoy healthful, safe, and abundant food. The environment benefits from decreased chemical applications and carbon emissions. Three federal agencies ensure these crops and foods are as safe for consumption and the environment as other products on the market. In the 12 years that biotech crops have been commercially grown, there has not been a single documented case of an ecosystem disrupted or a person made ill by these foods.
From the beginning, the biotechnology industry has been committed to the responsible use of this technology. Over the past 14 years, technology providers have completed well over 20,000 field trials covered under more than 9,000 permits. While a strong federal regulatory system oversees plant biotechnology, BIO believes that industry stewardship is an essential element in a partnership between government and the private sector. It's simple: to maintain stakeholder and consumer confidence, industry must comply with science-based regulations and demonstrate responsible use and accountability.
A History of Industry Stewardship
Researchers focused on stewardship from the earliest days of agricultural biotechnology. Ensuring quality control and responsible management of the technology has been central to developing and commercializing new biotech crop varieties. Product stewardship is the responsible management of a product from its inception through to its ultimate use. Stewardship makes good business sense - careful attention to the safety of products and their market impact is essential for high value products in any industry. In agricultural biotechnology, meticulous production methods are a business requirement so the seeds sold will yield harvests with the desired characteristics, and environmental sustainability. This is an essential step to providing more and better food, feed, and fiber through agricultural biotechnology.
Though industry stewardship has been an essential element from the beginning, BIO and its members formed a Beyond Compliance Taskforce in 2002 to formally leverage industry's experience to educate a wide audience of users on best practices for product stewardship.
The Importance of Widespread Compliance
The best stewardship program is an industry whose members are committed to going above and beyond what is required. BIO encourages every biotech-related organization to implement and maintain strong stewardship practices. Robust compliance is just one way our industry is going the extra mile so biotechnology can be as secure for the present as it is promising for the future. In the future, it is good common sense that industry stewardship programs will adapt and evolve to match the progress of agricultural biotechnology. As we begin to see new consumer and farmer benefits of this technology, we will see BIO and its members keep pace with continued responsible use of the technology.
Industry Stewardship Programs
Over the last decade BIO and the agricultural biotechnology industry have developed and maintained the following stewardship programs to promote responsible management of plant biotechnology:
- Industry Resistance Management
- Field Trial Compliance Manual/Workshops
- Containment Analysis and Critical Control Point (CACCP) Plan
- Product Launch Stewardship Policy