Vattenfall’s sustainability work is of highest quality, Platinum, according to a rating from EcoVadis, a leading source of corporate sustainability evaluation. This strengthens Vattenfall´s position as one of the most sustainability-oriented companies in the energy sector being ranked the top 1 percent among 75,000 companies.
The bad news is that the world is facing a severe food crisis. The good news is that we already have the solution. The other bad news, though, is that misunderstanding, misinformation and apocalyptic scaremongering are threatening to block the widespread implementation of this solution.
When an issue generates more conspiracy theories than the deaths of Elvis and JFK combined, rational debate tends to be elusive. Things like balance, reason and facts tend to get elbowed aside by mistrust, hyperbole and inaccuracies. Today, that’s the challenge facing genetically modified crops and crop biotechnology.
1. What is the current situation of GMOs in Europe?
While there is relatively little cultivation of genetically modified crops in the EU, GMOs are already part of our daily lives. The EU is a major importer of genetically modified (GM) commodities from other parts of the world. Most of the world’s cotton is GM – Europeans wear it daily and often pay with biotech banknotes. We also use imported GM soybeans to feed our farm animals, something European livestock farmers depend on heavily since there is no realistic alternative.
2. So we don’t grow it but we import what other continents produce – why?
The EU is the largest importer of agricultural commodities in the world. In some cases it depends on the climate e.g. we can’t grow coffee in Europe. In the case of GM crops, EU farmers can’t grow them because they are not allowed to – despite the fact that these crops have been proven over and over again to be as safe as conventional crops and that competing farmers in other parts of the world are growing them and exporting the results to Europe.
Most of us have an opinion about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but is it based on facts or hear-say? Let’s take a look at some surprising facts.
Biotechnology is already part of your daily life
When you are reading these lines, you are most likely wearing clothes made from GM cotton, and your fridge is probably full of foods derived from animals fed with GM crops, whether it is meat, milk or eggs. Biotechnology is also used to produce the enzymes used to make many processed foods including cheese, bread, pastries, chocolates, juice and wine amongst other products. Insulin and many other modern pharmaceuticals are equally produced with genetically modified micro-organisms.
In 2011, the 39 UK Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) set out to accelerate economic growth across the country. In their recently published Strategic Economic Plan, Hertfordshire LEP set out a vision that by 2030, Hertfordshire will be the leading economy at the core of the UK’s Golden Triangle (the area between London, Oxford and Cambridge) prioritising the growth of its scientific and research capabilities. The UK has one of the strongest and most productive Life Sciences industries in the world and Hertfordshire is a leading contributor of this success story.
Over the last years Spain has witnessed the consolidation of its biotechnology sector as a consequence of the growth in the number of companies and the overall turnover, as well as internationalisation processes. Particularly since 2008, when central government support for the sector started to act as a catalyst in attracting the interest of foreign investors.
Andalucía with more than 8 Million inhabitants is the most populated Spanish region and one of the largest in Europe. Thanks to its strategy initiatives based on innovation development and the strong commitment of the Andalusian Regional Government, Andalucía offers better business opportunities for global companies looking for new competitive locations as well as for undergoing innovative projects in strategic sectors, such as Aerospace, Biotechnology, ICT, Renewable Energies, among others.
Europe has supported the birth of the healthcare biotechnology industry. It provides significant value to the medical innovation, public health and economy in Europe, and by now more than 325 million patients have benefited from biotech medicines. “The role of personalised medicine providing future solutions for improving the effectiveness of therapies, and avoiding unnecessary treatment and severe side effects. EBE is working with all stakeholders to request they continue to foster a more conducive environment to the development and delivery of these innovative solutions” stated Roberto Gradnik, President of EBE.
The healthcare biotech sector is also a driving force of major public health break through in Europe and in finding responses to rare diseases. Already in 2005, 85% medicines targeting rare diseases originated from Small and Medium Enterprises, and this has continued to grow radically changing the life of patients in Europe.