Biotechnology as a solution to the ecological crisis of our time? It is difficult for society in general and politicians or financiers in particular to answer this question with Yes, as long as almost no company dares to write proudly about its product: Biotech inside! Obviously, the term does not have a positive enough connotation after the longstanding debate about genetic engineering in agriculture.
The European Biotechnology Network wants to change this with a unique branding and has developed a biotech label that manufacturers can proudly print or stick on their products. The subtitles “Nature based” and “Bioscience for life” are intended to signal to consumers at a glance what this means. In addition, there is an individual subline that informs potential buyers the particular benefits or advantages of this specific product compared to conventional competing products that may be on the shelf next to it.
To avoid „greenwashing“ and to be allowed to use the label, manufactures will have to meet stringent conditions. Therefore, a top-class panel of experts at the Network monitors compliance with these criteria.
Above all, the label must:
1. describe the main characteristics of the product,
2. communicate a positive message, and
3. not celebrate intermediate stages, but real solutions!
The technology must be unambiguously, which means it is:
2. based on molecular basis/technology
3. purposive biological process
These goals are defined and may be complemented by others, such as a product’s:
1. new characteristics
2. positive impact on sustainability, biodiversity, health and social conditions
3. compostable or biodegradable under normal conditions
Partial solutions, in particular, are excluded. A disposable bag made up with 25% bioplastics may have a slightly improved ecological balance due to the renewable raw materials used – but because it remains a plastic bag that may persist as waste in the oceans for centuries, it will not be approved to carry the label. Moreover, the label shall not display pure substitution solutions with a view only to renewable resources, which lack the technological aspect.
Proposals from consumers and companies for products that could bear the Biotech label in the future are highly welcome by the European Biotechnology Network.