Briefings

Tuesday 9th December 2014

Some governments are exploring geoengineering as a way to reduce or delay climate change.   Geoengineering could technically take climate decisions away from all but the richest countries. Computer models show that stratospheric interventions to reduce sunlight and lower temperatures may benefit some temperate zones but negatively impact Africa with important social and agricultural consequences.

Tuesday 9th December 2014

Some governments are exploring geoengineering as a way to reduce or delay climate change.   Geoengineering could technically take climate decisions away from all but the richest countries. Computer models show that stratospheric interventions to reduce sunlight and lower temperatures may benefit some temperate zones, but negatively impact Asia’s monsoons with important social and agricultural consequences.

Tuesday 9th December 2014

Some governments are exploring geoengineering as a way to reduce or delay climate change.   Geoengineering could technically take climate decisions away from all but the richest countries. Computer models show that stratospheric interventions to reduce sunlight and lower temperatures may benefit some temperate zones but negatively impact Latin America with important social and agricultural consequences.

A Summary of Scientific Arguments

Thursday 14th August 2014

Introduction

Almost twenty years of genetically modified crops… What have we gained?

Contrary to what companies promised, official statistics from the United States—the leading producer of genetically modified (GM) crops in the world—demonstrate that the truth of GM crops is that they produce less per hectare than the seeds that were already available on the market, but have resulted in an exponential increase in the use of agritoxins.

Ingredients, Flavours, Fragrances and Synthetic Biology

Thursday 3rd July 2014

Synthetic biology could impact the $22 billion global flavour and fragrance market and the livelihoods of producers of natural commodities. The world's largest producers of food ingredients, flavors and fragrances are all now partnering with Synthetic Biology companies to develop biosynthetic versions of key high value natural commodities such as saffron, vanilla, vetiver and patchouli - replacing botanical sources. These in turn are just a few our of hundreds of economically important natural plant compounds whose production may be switched to synthetic biology production in a very short time frame.

Plant-Derived Pharmaceutical Ingredients and Synthetic Biology

Thursday 3rd July 2014

Rubber and Synthetic Biology: A New and Emerging Issue for CBD

Thursday 3rd July 2014

This case study illustrates recent developments in synthetic biology that could impact the $35 billion natural rubber market and disrupt the livelihoods of producers. These developments impact the sustainable use of biodiversity and fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the genetic resources associated with rubber production. Natural rubber has already lost half of its market to petroleum-based synthetics. If production challenges are resolved, production via synthetic biology could erode the remaining half. Using synthetic biology, three different commercial teams are working to produce a biosynthetic isoprene that could soon impact Asia’s exporters; other companies are producing biosynthetic butadiene and isobutene, also crucial to the manufacture of rubber.

Ingredients, Flavours, Fragrances and Synthetic Biology

Thursday 3rd July 2014

Known for its musty, woody scent, vetiver oil is also know for its fixative qualities, which means that it helps a fragrance to last longer after it is applied to the skin. Vetiver oil can be detected in the “base notes” of many perfumes or colognes. A synthetic biology company has engineered microbes to produce chemical compounds aimed at replacing traditional Vetiver production, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of farmers in Haiti, Indonesia, China, India, Japan and Brazil, among others.

The Industrial Food Chain or the Peasant Food Web?

Monday 19th May 2014

This short report compares the industrial food system with peasant farming. Industrial farming gets all the attention (and most of the land). It accounts for more than 80% of the fossil fuel emissions and uses over 70% of the water supply used in agriculture, but it actually produces only about 30% of the world's food.

In this succinct, illustrated booklet, you'll find the answers to these questions...

Synthetic Biology - A New and Emerging Issue for CBD

Wednesday 30th April 2014

New developments in synthetic biology could have far-reaching impacts on the market for biodiversity-derived natural products and the livelihoods of those who produce them. Cosmetic giants like Unilver and L’Oreal can source squalene from plant sources (olive oil, amaranth seeds, wheat germ, etc.) instead of harvesting the livers of 6 million deep sea sharks per year. This is a positive development. Now, Amyris is producing squalene from engineered microbes in fermentation tanks that are fueled by biomass – up to two million tons of crushed sugarcane annually. Who decides what is the most sustainable and socially just use of biomass and farmland?

No inter-governmental body is addressing the potential impacts of synthetic biology on the conservation and use of biodiversity and on the livelihoods of those who depend on agricultural export commodities (including high-value flavors, fragrances, cosmetics, essential oils, etc). The Convention on Biological Diversity is the most appropriate forum to address this new and emerging issue.

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