b"GIANT VIEWSBY: PAUL LEONARD UNWANTED CONSEQUENCES DESPITE GOOD INTENTIONSso much to policymaking and to realizingfood systems fair, healthy and environ-Green Deal objectives. mentally-friendly.ivThere is also a high It is clearly in societys interest tolevel of agreement that European sci-ensure policy makers are not biased byence and innovation will be essential to commercial conflicts of interest, but sys- achieve these important and ambitious tematic exclusion of industry expertisesustainability targets.cannot be the answer. Scientists tend toIndustry has repeatedly signalled be paid by someone, e.g., companies, gov- its commitment to innovate in support ernments, research councils, consultan- of both Green Deal and the Farm to cies, foundations or philanthropists, all ofFork Strategy sustainability objectives. which could have their own perspectives,However, the current lack of scientific biases and conflicts of interest. It is there- impact assessment to inform policymak-fore necessary to move beyond superfi- ing is causing increasing concern, here cial notions of independence to a morein Europe and from our international pragmatic, constructive, and balancedagricultural trading partners. Many approach. Conflicts of interest should bestakeholders have repeatedly called on made transparent so decision makers canthe EU Commission to conduct a holistic Paul Leonardbenefit from the best available expertise,evidence-based impact assessment on the insights, and evidence, rather than deny- Farm to Fork Strategy, and in particular ing access to valuable practical experi- on its quantitative reduction targets. The I ndustry invests billions of Eurosence from the private sector. EU Commission has however refused to each year in research and innova- Two things should be done to over- do so, on the basis that it is a political tion, much of which goes on gener- come this problem:strategy, committing instead to conduct ating scientific evidence to demonstrate1. robust criteria should be agreed toimpact assessments on individual draft that new products and technologies areassure the quality of scientific evidencelegislative measures.safe. However, industry is also increas- used in policymaking, such as thoseWhile the EU Commissions position ingly criticised for paying for sciencerecently proposed by Sir Colin Berryiandmay be formalistically correct, there is that furthers its own economic interests.promoted by the European Regulationa circularity to this argument. On the Consequently, policy makers and regula- and Innovation Forumii, and one hand, the Farm to Form Strategy set tors are under pressure to rely instead on2. rules for transparency and con- ambitious targets with the highest level so-called independent science. Europeanflict of interest should be establishedof political backing. On the other hand, policymakers appear increasingly shy toand applied to those who generate or usethere is a perception that if and when enter dialogue with industry experts andscientific evidence to inform policymak- impact assessments are ultimately per-even public domain scientists who haveers, irrespective of their public or privateformed by the EU Commission, they will collaborated with industry. organisational affiliations. be fragmented in scope and will not be The resultant exclusion of com- In this way, policymakers and regu- available until it is too late to influence mercial organisations from actively con- lators would be able to access the bestpolicy direction.tributing to policymaking and scientificavailable expertise and scientific evi- It would be better to harness the guidance development has now escalateddence, with a clear understanding ofexperience, scientific evidence, and good to a level where individual companiesassociated vested interests, from wher- will from all sectors, to gain the best pos-scientific expertise is increasingly notever they originate. sible understanding of how innovation heard by European policymakers. WhileThe European Green Deal setscould help achieve sustainability, and to it remains possible for industry to meetout to make Europe, the world's firstavoid unforeseen and unwanted conse-EU institutions via trade associations,climate-neutral continent by 2050iii,quences. this approach denies policymakers directsupported by the vast majority of stake-access to innovative companies and theirholders. The EU Commissions Farm toEditorsNote:PaulLeonardis company specific scientific and techno- Fork Strategy lies at the heart of theDirector, Governmental Affairs EU, logical insights, which could contributeEuropean Green Deal and aims to, makeBASF Agricultural Solutionsi Berry Sir Colin Frameworks for evaluation and integration of data in regulatory evaluations: The need for excellence in regulatorytoxicology, Toxicology Research and Application, Volume 4, 2020.iihttps://www.eriforum.eu/uploads/2/5/7/1/25710097/erif_-_com_20_-_scientific_integrity_principles_21.pdf iiihttps://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_enivhttps://ec.europa.eu/food/horizontal-topics/farm-fork-strategy_en60IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM"