Companies utilising nanotechnology can learn from the mistakes of the past, argues Hilary Sutcliffe

In Australia there appears to be a growing backlash from scientists and farmers against a recent Greenpeace campaign trashing genetically modified (GM) crops.

The green group have been accused of jeopardising lives by interrupting valuable research into disease resistant plants.

Mark Lynas’ controversial book ‘">The God Species’ has also now been published, which explores what he calls nine “Planetary Boundaries”. Lynas concludes that GM is an essential part of the mix to help us feed the planet sustainably.

The scientists I speak to have always felt the ban on GM was a nonsensical and self-defeating strategy.

Has the technology’s time come again in Europe?

If so, how do companies promoting the idea convince customer that it is safe?

What lessons can we learn from that failed introduction a decade ago, for other technologies?

At Matter, a UK based think tank, we’ve been looking at this issue in more depth in relation to nanotechnology and synthetic biology.

Our initial focus was governance issues, through the multi-stakeholder development of the Responsible Nano Code, a principles-based code to help companies develop and market nano-enabled products responsibly.

We then began to explore the issues of transparency and communication - a key component of the Code - through our project...

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communications  controversial industries  nanotechnology  transparency  trust 

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