Syngenta, Bayer & BASF

«The bee-killers» are giant multinational companies that produce and sell highly toxic, systemic pesticides, which are mass-killing bees and other pollinators essential for the environment, agriculture and global food production.

Some of these pesticides have been banned in Europe since 2013. However, the companies have largely denied that their pesticide business has negative impacts on bees and ecosystems.

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Problem

Syngenta, Bayer & BASF (“the bee-killers”) are giant multinational companies that produce and sell highly toxic pesticides, which are mass-killing bees and other pollinators essential for the environment, agriculture and global food production.

The business with bee-killing pesticides generates a profit of thousands of million euros for the companies and is aimed at securing their control over the industrial system of food production. Some of these pesticides have been banned in Europe since 2013. However, the companies have largely denied that their pesticide business has negative impacts on bees and ecosystems. Instead, they turn to misleading advertisement, greenwashing, aggressive lobbying and pressuring of political institutions.

Syngenta, BASF and Bayer are suing the European Commission for having imposed a ban on their products to protect bees and agriculture in Europe.

Nominating organisations

European Beekeping Organisation Logo
Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture

"Syngenta, Bayer and BASF’s bee-killing pesticides put global bee populations at risk. But without bees, the ecosystem and global food production will be doomed."

− Francesco Panella, beekeeper and president of Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination.

Consequences

Over the past years, beekeepers all over the world have been reporting a decline in bees with yearly bee colony losses of 20-50%. But bees and other pollinating insects play an essential role in ecosystems and the world could not likely survive a total bee collapse: Most plants and a third of our food depends on pollination by bees.

The economic value of bee-pollination is 265 billion Euros per year. With the decline of pollinators, food will become more expensive and less diverse. In a world without bees – who would pollinate our essential crop and wild plants? The bee collapse is a challenge to mankind on the scale of global warming, ocean acidification or nuclear devastation.

Causes

Bee death is to a large extent linked to destructive agricultural practices. Newly developed pesticides by Syngenta, Bayer and BASF are more and more powerful. These pesticides can cause acute and chronic poisoning with deadly consequences for individual bees and entire colonies. In addition to pesticides, bees suffer from climate change, pathogens and a loss of biodiversity, availability of food and habitats caused by the increasingly monotonous industrial agricultural landscapes. Regardless of independent scientific evidence, beekeepers’ claims and civil society’s demands, the companies still promote these bee-killing pesticides. Syngenta, Bayer and BASF are simply trying to protect their profits.

However, this could well come at a cost to bees, the environment and human food security and sovereignty. The only solution is a shift away from destructive industrial agriculture to ecological farming.

Perpetrator

Syngenta Crop Protection AG, Bayer CropScience AG and BASF SE (“Syngenta, Bayer, BASF”) are giant multinational companies that sell pesticides, agro-chemicals, treated seeds and various other products, paving their way towards controlling the whole chain of food production.

Syngenta, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland reported sales of over US$ 14bn and a net income of US$ 1.9bn in 2012. In the same year, Bayer, headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany, showed sales of nearly € 40bn and a net income of € 2.4bn. BASF, headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany, even reported sales amounting to € 78.7bn and a net income of € 9bn in 2012.