On Tuesday 24th June the TFSP published what they described as the conclusions of a meta-analysis examination into the impact of systemic pesticides on biodiversity and ecosystems, making significant and serious claims about the environmental impact of certain crop protection chemicals. Yet they failed to publish the full report alongside their findings.
Nick von Westenholz, CEO of the Crop Protection Association said; "It's very concerning that such serious claims are being made without providing any sight of the supporting evidence, and therefore preventing objective and independent scrutiny. Unfortunately this approach means we're very sceptical about the claims of the report to be independent, as widely reported in the media, particularly as it is clear that many of the report's authors have established positions opposed to the use of agro-chemicals.
"The Task Force's approach demonstrates a worrying lack of transparency that does little to enhance its credibility, or its claims of independence. Indeed, its authors have countered criticism of their conclusions by stating that, because the report has not been published, it can't be criticised - an obvious abuse of the scientific method. The fact that this report has not been made publicly available can only lead to a strong suspicion that Tuesday's announcement was simply a PR exercise to push a specific policy position. It is certainly a long way from conventional and objective scientific practice.
"The crop protection industry takes all scientific studies into the impact of its products seriously, as we do the health of pollinators. We recognise the vital role pollinators play in global food production and the need to protect their health. As such the industry is committed to supporting research and engaging with stakeholders to look at ways of protecting pollinator health. However, it is crucial that any research is conducted with proper scientific rigour.
"We call on the IUCN to publish the report immediately, to enable proper analysis of the claims they are making."