Our demands to Syngenta
- Stop producing and selling paraquat immediately, and phase out the production and sale of all other highly hazardous pesticides (as per the list of highly hazardous pesticides from the Pesticide Action Network.)
- No patents on plants. As the first step, no further applications should be submitted for patents on conventionally bred plants.
- No investments in the development of gene-manipulating seed technologies that interrupt natural reproduction processes, such as the terminator and traitor technologies
- Compliance with the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, known as the Ruggie Framework. In December 2011, Public Eye issued an expert report showing how Syngenta's sales of paraquat are in breach of the UN guidelines.
- Compliance with the FAO's International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. The key point here would be the implementation of Art. 3.5 of the Code of Conduct: "Pesticides whose handling and application require the use of personal protective equipment that is uncomfortable, expensive or not readily available should be avoided, especially in the case of small-scale users in tropical climates."
The state institutions need to:
- Be wholly independent of the industry for the assessment and authorisation of pesticides and to disclose the basis of their decisions. Neither is the case today.
- Set ambitious pesticide reduction targets. A targeted reduction and, in particular, a rapid ban on highly dangerous pesticides are needed. In the countries of the global South, the real application conditions on site must be taken into account during the approval process - so far, assumptions have often been made from the industrialised countries.
- Recognize the high social costs of pesticide use and add them to the pesticide price through taxes and levies.
- Comprehensive control of pesticide residues in food and drinking water.
- Establish accountability for (pesticide) companies. Pesticide victims must be given the opportunity to claim compensation - also in the home countries of the pesticide companies.
- Substantially increase research funding for non-chemical pest control alternatives. These funds could, for example, be generated through a pesticide tax. International conventions such as the Rotterdam Convention or the Stockholm Convention must be further strengthened. In this way, we should be able to prevent individual states from vetoing implementation and further development.
- Create a political framework for the promotion, further development and dissemination of pesticide-free agriculture.
In Switzerland, acceptance of the responsible business initiative would oblige pesticide companies to carry out due diligence checks and enable pesticide victims to claim compensation in Switzerland.